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Full text of "Historical sketch of Cass County, Illinois: an oration delivered July 4, 1876, at Beardstown, Ill. .."

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<>< An Oration nKi.ivuRED July 4, 187G, at Bkakdstown, Ills., 


jr. HlEn^i^-Y- Shj^-vt". 

B I<: A 11 D S T O W N : 


187 6. 


Entered aceording to Act of Congress, in the year 1876, 
by John H. Siiat, in the ortice of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 


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n=r LLIXOIS dates its white settlements among the first in North 
'^mm^, America. Four years prior to the settlement of Plymouth, 
Le Caron had explored Upper Canada ; and twenty years later the 
hardy and ambitious French traders and voyageurs and zealous 
missionaries had erected trading posts and missions along the rivers 
and upon the lake shores now within the jurisdiction of Illinois and 

At that period the surface of Illinois was much lower, geologi- 
cally considered, than it is at the present time. Since its creation, 
the thin crust of the earth has been undergoing slow mutations, 
breathing, as it were, by centuries ; elevating and depressing in the 
lapse of ages under the influence of its mighty lungs of fire ; sinking 
slowly and imperceptibly beneath their former level continents and 
islands, and as gradually raising others above the waste of waters. 

While the countries bordering upon the Levantine seas have been 


gradually encroached upon by the water, there has been a correspon- 
ding; rise in the eartli's surface here. Two hundred years ago the 
white settlers of Illinois navigated the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers 
to the great northern lakes. French pirogues and Indian canoes 
found no difficulty in passing through the portages of the North to 
Hudson's Bay. The routes from the Mississippi River — up the 
Wisconsin and down the Fox to Lake Michigan ; and up the Illinois 
to Chicago, or " River of the Miami," as it was then called ; or up 
the Kankakee and down the St. Joseph — were well known and 

Indeed, but a few centuries since, these rivers were the southern 
outlets for the waters of the great lakes, and the Illinois penitentiaiy, 
near Joliet, now stands upon a ledge of rocks over which a great 
river once flowed in rapids similar to those of the Des Moines on the 
Upper Mississippi. 

In the southern part of the State, at that point now known as 
Tower Rock, this great river was dammed up by a wall of rock, over 
which it fell one hundred feet, forming a cataract of such volume and 
height as to rival even the great Niagara. But the continual wearing 
6f the water, aided materially by earthquakes, finally opened the 
present channel of the Mississippi, and gave an outlet to the ocean of 
waters that lay stagnating in the swamps, now prairies, above. 
These are the two great natural causes of the present agricultural 
productiveness of the State of Illinois. 

Two hundred years ago northern and central Illinois was inhabited 
by two powerful nations of Indians, the Illinois and the Miamis. 
The Miamis occupied the northern part of the present State of 
Illinois, and part of Wisconsin, and their chief town was upon the 
IDresent site of Chicago. 

The Illinois tribe occupied the country bordering upon the Illinois, 
called by the French the "River Seignelay ;" and all the country 
between that country and the " River Colbert," or Mississippi. 

The principal tribe of the Illinois were the Muscootens, and their 
town was upon the present site of Beardstown, on the east bank of 
the river, at the foot of Muscooten Bay, an.d was called by the French 
the " Mound Village." 

The Peorians, another of the Illinois tribes, more particularly 
occupied that portion of the country between the rivers, having their 


town on the west bank of the Illinois River, four miles above the 
Muscooten village, upon the blurts back of the present town of 
Frederick. The present site of Beardstown was at that time an 
island, surrounded on the north, east and south bv almost Impassable 
swamps, containing dangerous quicksands and quaking bogs, and 
which could be crossed only in canoes, or by Indians jumping from 
hillock to hillock of the turf grass with which these swamps were 
interspersed, and on the west bv the Scignelay or Illinois River. The 
Indian town of the Muscootens was a beautiful place. It was built 
upon a series of beautiful mounds, covered with grass, and partially 
shaded by tall trees, which stood like sentinels upon the hills, or 
ornamental trees upon a lawn, so scattered as not to obstruct the 
view of the whole town from the river. The island had evidenth^ 
been selected, not onlv on account of its natural lieautv, but for its 
easy defense and safet}' from enemies. 

By two bends in the river, forming two obtuse angles, the allied 
villages of the Peorias and the Muscootens stood at the two elbows, 
in plain sight of each other, the broad river forming a straight sheet 
of water between, while north of the Mound village, and in front of 
the Peorias. spread the wide and glass}' surface of Muscooten Bay,i 
separated from the river by a narrow peninsula. 

Back of the swamp which protected the rear of the town, was a 
wide belt of rich prairie bottom land, and be^'ond, six miles, loomed 
up the Sangamon Bluffs, looking like miniature Andes in the distance, 
between which and the island, in the day time, all approaching foes 
could be dim^rned. 

Tliis island town was a favorite resting place w'ith the tired 
voyageurs and devout missionaries ; a large cross was erected here, 
and friendly" relations established between the " children of the 
forest " and the white men. This favoritism on the part of the French 
towards the Illinois Indians excited the jealousies of the Miamis, 
and they determined upon revenge. In vain did the missionaries try 
to prevent animosities. The Miamis invaded the countiy of the 
Illinois, and took some prisoners. At this time, the Chevalier La 
Salle, who had built a fort called Creve Coeur, or the "Broken 
Heart," where the present cit}- of Peoria now stands, in order to 
prevent further hostilities, made a journey alone down the river to 
the Muscooten village, but his efforts were without avail, and the war 



The Muscootens believed that La Salle was acting as a spy for { 
the Iroquois, whose chief town was then where Buffalo, N. Y., now 
is, and who were the most powerful Indian nation upon the continent. 
This impression seemed to be confirmed when it became known to 
them that the Iroquois and Miamis had formed an alliance for the 
purpose of exterminating them. 

Man}- battles were fought between these hostile nations, but, by 
the superior numbers of their enemies, the Illinois were worsted and 
besieged in their towns. The Peorias fortified themselves with 
earthworks upon the bluffs at their village, and passed men down the 
river in canoes, as necessity required, to the Mound village, the river 
beina: protected from the arrows of the enemv bv marshv ground on 
one side and the bay on the other, which forbade their near approach. 

The Muscootens were besieged in their island town. Occasionally 
they were assailed by parties of their enemies, who, more courageous 
than their fellows, crossed the swamps in the night, on the grassy 
hillocks, with the help of long poles. On these occasions fierce 
battles were fought, and none of the daring assailants suiwived to 
recross those trembling hillocks. At every defeat the Miamis and 
Iroquois became more enraged. In the night time, when out of 
danger from arrows, the allied Indians cut grass and small trees, and 
gathered floating wood, and began building a causeway across the 
swamp. "When it was completed they rushed upon the island, and 
for several days the battle raged fiercely. There was no Cjuarter 
given or asked. Death was dealt out by unsparing hands on both 
sides. Thej- had been rendered doubh' savage by hunger and dela^-. 
Their revenge had long been at usurv, and thev were now satisfving 
principal and interest. The battle temporarily subsided only when 
the combatants became exhausted, and was resumed when rest 
brought returning strength Those who from fatigue were unable to 
rise, were scalped and tomahawked, entering from the dreamland of 
life to the dreamland of death. 

At length, exhausted, and overwhelmed by superior numbers, the 
Muscootens began to fall back towards the river, when with j^ells of 
victory their allied enemies rushed upon them, and with tomahawks 
and scalping knives ended the battle. A few of the unfortunate 
Muscootens swam the river, and concealed themselves in the high 
swampy grass beyond, and a small number fled in canoes to the 
village of the Peorias. The women and children were taken pris- 

The battle being over, then came the mourning for the slain. 
Funeral rites, in which the missionaries took part, were performed, 
and in the great mound on the bank of the river, which had been 
raised centuries before b}' a long forgotten race, they buried the slain 
warriors, with their bows, arrows and tomahawks, together with the 
silver and flint crosses of the missionaries. 

After these ceremonies were concluded the Iroquois returned to 
their own country. The Miamis, with their prisoners, encamped upon 
the present site of Chandlerville, where game Avas plenty, and 
attended to their sick and dying, great numbers of whom did not 
survive their wounds. Their dead were buried in the bluffs near by, 
and long after the settlement of Chandlerville their ghastlj' skeletons 
lay in white rows, exposed to the sun, laid bare by the action of the 
winds upon their sandy covering. 

Some years later Mound Island was taken possession of b}' the 
Kickapoo Indians, upon wliich they built their village, known by the 
name of " Kickapoo Town," although still remembered bj- the French 
missionaries as the "Beautiful Mound Village." 

This became a favorite trading post and missionarj' station, and 
continued in the possession of the Kickapoos until its settlement by 
Thomas Beard, in 1820, after whom the present city of Beardstown 
was named. 

Forty years ago the great mound in Beardstown began to be 
encroached upon by the spade and pickaxe of the avaricious white 

The decaying bones of the red warriors, as the}' lay in their quiet 
and lovely resting place, with the implements of war around them ; 
the silver and flint crosses of the missionaries ; even the beautiful 
mound itself, which as an ornament to the river, and a historic 
feature of the town should have been held sacred, could not restrain 
the money making white man from destroying it, and it is now 
recollected only by the old settlers, who used to sit upon its summit 
and watch the passing away of the last of two races — the Indian in 
his canoe and the French voA'ageur in his pirogue. 

Many j-ears ago, at the request of a 3-oung friend, I related one 
of the incidents of the above narrative and put it into verse and 
rhyme, which is as follows : 




{ Far, far into the loner ago, and upon the very place 

I Where Beardstowu stilnds, there lived and loved and died a noble race. 

Wliere pretty lawns and spacious streets and lofty buildings stand, 
, Monscela's Indian ^illage stood upon the hills of sand. 

It was an island then, and round the hills on which it stood 

The river ripples wandered in a long continuous tlood ; 

While over all the tall oaks waved in foliage bright and green. 

And the trees and tents were mirror'd on the broad and glassy stream. 

Far above the stars were shining, bathed in clouds of silvry light. 
And the gentle breeze of summer-da}- had slumbered into night: 
The murmur of the wavelets tlowing, and hum of insect wings, 
Fell lightly on the sleepers" ears, nor waked their slumberings. 

Three weary moons two Indian tribes had been in deadly strife. 
And Miamis and Muscoutens had yielded many a life : 
•Till the allies of the Muscoutens had left them all alone. 
And the Miamis besieged them upon their island home. 

Slowly, at night, across the waters upon the southern side, 

The Miamis were paddling up their canoes against the tide; 

While in advance of every boat was held a branching bough. 

Which from the gaze of watching eyes might shield the advancing prow. 

Upon the island, faint and tired, the Muscoutens lay at rest. 

All witless of the coming foe as the flowers which they pressed : 

They had fought them day hy day; their watclifires burning night by night. 

Until glimmered on their ashen beds the last faint rays of light. 

Just as the distant glittering beams that led the morning sun 
Sat lightly on the yellow knobs of the bluffs of Sangamon. 
A 3'ell as of a thousand fiends fell on tlie startled ears. 
And sleepers woke to sleep again pierced by the foemen's sjiears. 

Monsojla then. Muscouten's Chief, raised high the battle cry, 
And bade his warriors follow him and win the figlit or die : 
Now on the left, now on the right, his ponderous war-club fell. 
And many an Indian skull crushed he. and stifled manj- a \-ell. 

Now backward borne, now pressing on, Muscouten's wavering braves 
Proved that the blood that nerved their arms was never meant for slaves ; 
'Till overjiowered. and rank by rank fell weltering in their blood, 
The brave Monsula fought alone amidst the crimson flood. 

Tiien the old chiefs daughter, Wliite Wing, ran through the rift of spears: 
"i'liougii gentle as a fawn, day she sliowed no childish fears : 
Pierced to the heart, into his arms she threw herself, a shield, 
He grasped her lifeless form and slowly bore her from the field. 


Where the golden grass was waving on the river's western shore, 
Monsffla's birchen shallop touched the flowery bank once more; 
Tliere oft before the same proud chief had pushed his light canoe, 
Witli warriors in sinewj' keels — three hundred brave and true. 

Near two hundred years have entered into the dreamy past 
Since tlie chief of tlie Muscoutens on his village looked the last — 
One longing, lingering look he gave toward his island home, 
Then drew his mantle round him and wandered forth alone. 

In 1700, Illinois was a part of the territory owned by the French 
government, and w^as called New France. 

In 1720, all the countrj- west of the Mississippi River belonged to 
Spain, with Santa Fe as its capital. 

In 1763, Illinois was ceded bj- France to Great Britain, after a 
" seven j'ears' war." Man}- French inhabitants, rather than live 
under British rule, joined La Clede and settled St. Louis. 

') In 1778, the Illinois country was conquered from Great Britain 
by troops from the State of Virginia, under the command of General 
George Rogers Clark, which was an independent military enterprise 
of that State Nand on the 4th day of July of that year. Gen. Clark 
and his troops took possession of Kaskaskia, the capital of the 
British possessions west of the Alleghenies, and declared the Illinois 
countr}' free and independent of Great Britain, thus making the 4th 
day of July the natal da}' of this State as well as of our nation. 

In that year, Illinois was created a county of Virginia, and Tim- 
^ othy Dernanbrun was appointed by the governor, Patrick Henry, a 
y justice of the peace, to rule over it ; which was probably the most 
extensive territorial jurisdiction that a magistrate ever had. 

In 1794, the Legislature of the Northwest Territory divided it 
into two counties, Randolpli and St. Clair. 
' In 1809, Illinois was declared a separate territory. 
In 1812, Madison County was organized from St. Clair, and then 
■ contained all of the present State north of St. Clair and Randolph. 
In 1818, Illinois was admitted into the Union as the twenty-second 

In 1821, Green County was formed from Madison County. 
/ In 1823, Morgan County was formed from Green County. 
' In 1837, Cass County was formed from Morgan County. 
During the first quarter of the present century, immigration to 
the Illinois country had been retarded by frequent earthquakes ; 
indeed, from 1811 to 1813 they were as severe as ever happened on 

this continent, and the few of the settlers here were in constant dread 
from these disturbances. -^ New Madrid, a flourishing town near the 
mouth of the Ohio, was utterly destroyed and swallowed up. But in 
1825 the Erie Canal was completed, and steamboats had been intro- 
duced upon the Mississippi and its tributaries, and immigi-ation 
received a new impulse and flowed in A'igorously. This immigration 
excitement was called on the other side of the mountains, the "west- 
ern fever ;" and it carried many a good man off — west. 

In 1818, a man by the name of Pullam settled upon Horse Creek, 
a tributary of the Sangamon, and later, in November of that year, 
another man, by the name of Seymour Kellogg, was the first settler 
in the country comprised afterwards in the count}* of Morgan, and it 
was at his house that the first white child of the Sangamon country 
was born. 

The first actual and permanent white settler within the limits of 
the present city of Beardstown, was Thomas Beard, who came here 
on horseback when it was a Kickapoo village, in 1819, and made it 
his home for some time as a trader among the Indians. 

Martin L. Lindsley, together with his wife and two children, John 
C. and Mary A., and Timothy Harris and John Cettrough, settled 
here in 1S20. These settlers located afterward in -Camp Hollow." a 
short distance east of the site of the present county farm, where Mr. 
Lindslev built a cabin, and the first white child born in this immediate 
vicinity was added to his family. 

Dm-ing the year 1820, a family named Eggleston settled on the 
site of Beardstown. 

Major Elijah Hes, now a resident of Springfield, His., landed in 1819 
where Beardstown now is, on his way to the '-Keeley Settlement," 
afterwards named Calhoun, and now "Springfield," the State capital. 
He says that at that time there was a hut at Beardstown, built of 
birchen poles, standing on the bank of the river, but unoccupied. As 
the Indians lived in tents, this hut was probably erected by the 
French traders nearly a quarter of a century before the landing of 
Major lies. 

Archibald Job settled first at Beardstown, and then at Sylvan 
Grove, in the edge of North Prairie, in the spring of 1821, sur- 
rounded by Kickapoo and Pottowatamie Indians. 

There were other pioneers settled here about that time, whose 
names I have not learned. 

In 1821, there were but twenty families within the present limits 
of Morgan, Cass and Scott counties. 


In the early years of, the white settlements here, wheat was 
unknown, and Indian corn, the only breadstuff, was exceedingly hard 
to obtain, as mills were scarce. Jarvoe's Mill, on Cahokia Creek, 
was for a long time the only one accessible to our pioneers. In 1821, 
a small horse-mill was erected on Indian Creek by one Richard Shep- 
ard. Then a horse-mill was put up at Clary's Grove, Menard County. 
To these mills the boys of the families had to make frequent and 
tedious journey's to procure corn meal for bread. 

The public lands were first offered for sale in November, IS 23 ; so 
that all those who settled here previous to that time were only squat- 
ters on the public lands, and could hardly be termed permanent 
settlers. In fact, Thomas Beard, and his friends who lived with the 
Indians at Kickapoo village, were merely squatters, dependent upon 
the Indians for the privilege of erecting their huts. 

The first land entry was made b}' Thomas Beard and Enoch C. 
March, jointly, who entered the northeast quarter of 15, 18, 12, Sept. 
23, 1826. It was upon this quarter section that Mr. Beard's cabin 
was built. On the 28th day of October, 1827, Beard and March 
entered the northwest quarter of 15, 18, 12, which extended their river 
front down below the mound. Thomas Beard individually entered 
the west half, southwest, 15, 18, 12, October 10, 1827; and John 
Knight entered the east half, southwest, 15, 18, 12, July 17, 1828. 
Thus there were three men entered the entire section upon 
which the original town of Beardstown was located, in the years 
1826, 1827 and 1828. So j'ou will see that the stories current that 
Beardstown was laid out in 1824, and that the site was bought by 
Beard and March for twenty-five dollars, are not founded on record 

The fact is, that the original town of Beardstown, consisting of 
23 blocks, fronting on the river, three blocks deep, reaching from 
Clay to Jackson Street, of which block 10, lying between the Park 
and Main Street, is the centre one, was laid out and platted b}' Enoch 
C. March and Thomas Beard, and acknowledged before Thomas B. 
Arnet, a justice of the peace of Jacksonville, September 9, 1829, 
and is recorded on page 228 of Book B of the Morgan County 

Among the first settlers in Beardstown, after it became a town 
site, were Francis Arenz and Nathaniel Ware, who purchased an 
interest and became joint landed proprietors with Beard and March. 
The town was named after Thomas Beard. 

The very first deed from March and Beard upon record, of lands 


within the present limits of Beardstown, was niatle before the town 
was k^id out, and is dated August 21, 1828, to " Charles Robinson, 
of New Orleans," for the consideration of $100, being for a "part of 
the fractional part of the N. W. qr. of Sec. 15, in town. 18, 12; 
beginning at a forked birch tree on the Illinois river bank, marked as 
a corner, running thence down the river meanders thereof, so as to 
make two hundred j^ards on a strait line, and from thence running out 
from the river at both ends of the above line by two parallel lines, 
until they strike the north line of the E, hf. of the S. W. qr. of Sec. 
15, 18, 12, supposed to contain 12 acres." 

And immediatel}' following this deed upon the record is this 
singular " deed of defeasance," executed by Charles Robinson. 


'"I having this day bought of Enoch C. March and Thomas Beard and 
his wile Sarah a piece of land on the river below the ferr\' of tlie above 
Beard and have this day rec'd from them a deed for the same I hereby 
declare that it is mv intention to do a public business on the said land 
between this date and the first day of Oct. next year and if I have not upon 
the land by that date persons and propertj^ to effect the same or actually 
upon the way to do so I will return the above deed and transfer back the 
land to them upon receiving the consideration given them for the same. 
The above public business means, a steam mill, distiller}' rope walk or 
store. Witness my hand and seal this 21 daj- of Aug 1828. 

(Signed) ^^ CHARLES ROBIXSOX. [seal.]"' 

Acknowledged August 1, 1828, before Dennis Rockwell, Clerk of 
Morgan Circuit Court; recorded June 29, 1829, Book B, deeds, ISO. 
This land is part of the original town of Beardstown. * 

Mr. Charles Robinson, party to these deeds, still lives in this 
county, near Arenzville. On the 8th of February, 1872, he wrote a 
letter to the Chicago Journal, from which I make this extract : 

"Fifty years ago, or in the summer of 1821, there was not a bushel of 
corn to be had in Central Illinois. My father settled in that yea,v twentj'- 
three miles west of Springfield. We had to live for a time on venison, 
blackberries, and milk, while the men were gone to Egypt to harvest and 
procure breadstutfs. The land we improved was surveyed that summer, 
and afterwards bought of tlie government, the money being raised by 
sending beeswax down the Illinois river to St. Louis in an Indian canoe. 
Dressed deer skins and tanned hides were then in use. and we made one 
piece of cloth out of nettles instead of flax. Cotton matiu-ed well for a 
•decade, until the deep snow of 1830.*" 

The southern part of the State, referred to by Mr. Robinson as 



Eg3'pt, received this appellation, as here indicated, because, being 
older, better settled and cultivated, it " gathered corn as the sand of 
of the sea," and the immigrants of the central part of the State, 
after the manner of the children of Israel, in their wants, went 
"thither to buy and bring from thence that they might live and not 

Reddick Horn, a Methodist minister, settled at Beardstown about 
1823, and entered eight}' acres near by, afterward making entries 
near the blutf. 

The Cottonwood School-house was built in 1830, in the Sangamon 
Bottom, and is now knoAvn bj' that name. 

The exact date of each arrival of the settlers is very hard to 
obtain, as those of them now living differ in their recollections of 
those who have precedence ; but, by taking a conspicuous event, such 
for instance as the deep snow, which occurred in the winter of 1830-31, 
it becomes more easv to decide who then lived in the ditierent neigh- 
borhoods. At that lime, upon the Sangamon Bottom road there were 
the following named settlers : The first above Beardstown, was Solo- 
mon Pennv, in section 10, 18, 11, where Richard Tink now lives. 
The next was John "Waggoner, who lived where the Bottrell farm is 
now. Above him were the Carrs — Elisha, "William, and Benjamin — 
and their father : Elisha lived on the present Kendall farm. Next 
above the Carrs was Grandpa Horrom. Then Jerry Bowen, where 
Calvin Wilson now lives. Next, the Avidow Stewart. Next, Shad- 
rach Richardson, on the present Brauer farm. Then Thomas Plas- 
ter, sr., where,.c?eptha Plaster now lives. 

These were all that then lived below where Chandlerville now is, 
on this road. The first above these was Robert Leeper, on the Cleph. 
Bowen place. Next, "William Myers ; next, Henry McHenry ; and 
in their order above him were Peter Dick ; John Taylor ; "William 
Morgan ; James Hickey, and Amos Ogden ; and then Isham Reavis. 
who afterward moved below Chandlerville. James McAuley, and 
Elijah Garner settled in 1832. 

Among the earliest settlers in the vicinity of Arenzville were 
Henry McKean, John McKean, Alexander Pitner, "William Pitner, 
John jMelone, "William McHenry, James Davis, George Bristow, 
Aquilla Low, J. A. Arenz, Richard Matthews, Charles Robertson, 
James and Christian Crum, Peter Hudson, Charles "VN''iggins, David 
Black, Alexander Huflfman, Benjamin Mathews, "William Summers. 
Andrew "Williams, and Richard Graves. Most of tbese persons came 


about 1830. John, Stephen and Jasper Buck, and John Shafer were 
also early settlers. John Savage came in 1823. 

In 1830, there was a water mill built at Arenzville, where Engle- 
bach's steam mill now stands. The power was obtained bv chanofino- 
the channel of Indian Creek full}- a quarter of a mile north from its 
bed where it now runs. There is the site of an old Indian town and 
burial place on Prairie Creek, about three miles northeast of 

Among the first settlers in the centre of the count}-, near where 
Virginia now stands, were Capt. Jacob Yaples, who sat out the first 
orchard in the count}' ; Henry Hopkins, Elijah Carver, Charles Brady, 
John De Webber, Thomas Hanby, George Bristow, John Dawsy, 
Samuel Way, Charles Brady, William Weaver, Thomas G-atton, 
Halsey Smith, and a preacher named Chambers, and others. Some 
of these settled as soon as the lands opened for sale at the land office 
in 1823 ; others a few years later. 

The next installment of settlers, ranging from 1827 to 1835, were 
James Stephenson and his five gi-own sons, Wesley, James, William, 
Robert, and Augustus ; Charles Beggs, Jacob and John Epler, John 
Hiler, Rev. John Biddlecome, Isaac INIitchell, William Kiuner, Jesse 
Allred, Xathan Compton ; John C, Peter and William Conover ; and 
a widow Pratt and her four sons — William, Charles, Rogers and 

A school-house was built of logs in this neighborhood in 1829. 
Samuel Thompson built a horse-mill in 1830. James Richardson 
built the first blacksmith shop in 1826. Peter Conover and Elizabeth 
Marshall were the first to marry here, which was in 1827. The south- 
east part of the county was settled early by James Davis, who made 
an improvement on the tract now owned by Travis Elmore, at the 
head of Little Indian Creek. He sold out to Strawder Ball, and he 
to Isaac Bennett. Bennett sold to Rev. Joshua Crow, who entered 
the land in 1826. Joshua Crow entered other lands in this vicinity 
as early as 1823. Eli Cox settled here as early as 1820, in Cox's 
Grove, so named from him. William Cooper, a negro with a white 
wife, settled here also ; and Stephen Short, with his four sons, James, 
Benjamin, George and Albert. Stephen Lee, Tilman Hornbuckle, 
and Dr. Stockton, settled in Panther Grove in 1830. John Miller, 
James Thompson and Daniel Blair settled near by on the prairie. 
Stephen Short was first justice of the peace. Rev. William Crow 
first preacher. 

Further north, on the east side of the county, among the first 



settlers were George and John Wilson, in 1824 ; "William Daniels, in 
1825 ; Bartlett Conyers, John Lucas, John B. Wittj- and Robert 
Hawthorn, in 1826. The first child born in this neii;hborhood was 
Lucinda Daniels, in 1828. The first marriage was Miles Hamilton 
and Barbara Baeger. On the north side of the county, on and near 
the Sangamon Bottom, the first settlers were Amos Ogden, in 1830, 
who built a house of hewn logs in 1831, and rode three da3's to get 
eight men to help him to raise it. The men he got were those other 
old settlers : Joseph Hickey, James Watkins, John Hickey, James 
Hicke}', Isham Reavis, Daniel Aturbury, and a Mr. Mounts. 

The first school-house was of logs, built on Amos Ogden's farm. 
The first blacksmith shop was owned by Mathew Holland in 1835. 
The first mill was a small specimen of a water-mill, owned by James 
Watkins in 1832. 

The five Dick brothers, William Lynn, Ishmael West, and William 
P. Morgan, settled here in 1831 : and Dr. Charles Chandler, Marcus 
Chandler, and Mr. Ingliss, in 1832. Dr. Chandler's cabin was in 
the centre of the present town of Chandlervile, where the first Con- 
gregational Church now stands, the land being subsequently donated 
b}' the doctor for that purpose. South of the Chandler settlement, 
on the Sangamon Bottom, David Clopton, Robert Leeper, William 
Myers, Oliver Coyne, William McAuley and Mark Cooper, in 1831 
and 1832. The first preaching was by Rev. Levi Springer, y; 


{i. e., bought from the government) in Cass County, Ills., including 
the "three-mile strip," before "the deep snow," in the winter of 
1830-31 ; and in what township and in what year the entiy was made. 
Where a person entered land in more than one township, his name is 
given for that tract only which he first entered. 

( ( 

( I 

IS, 12. Thomas Beard 1826. 

" Enoch C.March 1S26. 

" John Knight 1S2S. 

17, 12, Freeman Skinner 1830. 

Kimball & Knapp 1830. 

Asa C. New 1830. 

18, 11, Henry Summers 1830. 

" Richard Gaines 1830. 

' ' John S. Warfield 1830. 

" EobertFarrell 1830. 

" JohnFarrell 1830. 

' ' Temperance Balder 1829. 

18, 11, William W. Babb 1829. 

' ' Elred Eenshaw 1830. 

18. 11. Samuel B. Cre\vdson...l829. 
Solomon Penny 1828. 

" Benjamin Carr 1829. 

' ' Amos Hager 1S30. 

' ' Eeddick Horn 1826. 

'• ElishaCarr 1829. 

' ' John Wao-ffoner 1829. 

' ' James Scott 1829. 

17, 11, Alexander Pitner 1829. 

" John Thompson 1830. 



17, 11. James Orchnrd 1826. 

' Oswell Thompson, jr. ..1830. 
' Joseph L. Knkpatrick..lS30. 

' Josepli C.Christy 1829. 

' Frederick Troxel 1828. 

' Peter Karges 1 830. 

' David Black 1829. 

James Smart 1827. 

• John R. Sparks 1828. 

Aquilla Low 1527. 

Abraham Gish 1828. 

Charles Robertson 1828. 

Peter Taylor 1827. 

Martin Robertson 1828. 

James H. Richards 1830. 

Jonah H. Case 1826. 

Daniel R. Scaflfer 1829. 

Thomas Clark 18.30. 

David B. Carter 1S30. 

James Davis 1826. 

Andrew Williams 1827. 

Alexander Huffman 1827. 

William Snmmers 1827. 

L. L. Case 1826. 

John Savage 1830. 

Dennis Rockwell 1828. 

Aug-ustiis Barber 1820. 

Joseph P. Croshwait. ..1830. 

Thomas Wiogins 1829. 

George F. Miller 1828. 

Henry McKean 1829. 

Daniel T. Matthews 1828. 

John McKean 1829. 

Daniel Richards 1829. 

John Cnppy 1830. 

Patrick Mullen. 1827. 

Shadrick Scott 1828. 

Benjamin Matthews 1827. 

Samuel Grosong 1826. 

William S. Hauby 1826. 

18, 10, John E. Scott 1826. 

John De Weber 1828. 

A. S. West 1826. 

John Ray 1826. 

Joshua Crow 1820. 

Benjamin Stribllng 1830. 

John G. Bergen 1828. 

Phineas Underwood . ..1826. 
Henry Madison 1828. 

18, 10, William Myers 1827. 

'• Thomas Gatton 1829. 

" James Mason 1829. 

" Xathan Compton 1828. 

" John Robertson 1828. 

" Street & Bland 1827. 

•' Susan Washburn 1827. 

" Henry Traughber 1826. 

'• William McCord 1830. 

" Robert Alexander 1829. 

' ' Ral ph Morgan 1 830 . 

'' John Biddlecome 1830. 

" Zadoc W. Flinn 1829. 

" Peter Carr 1828. 

'• William Carr 1828. 

" William D. Sturgis 1830. 

" Shadrach Richardson. . .1830. 

" Robert H. Iver? 1830. 

" Josiah Rees 1830. 

" Joseph Baker 1829. 

" Thomas Plaster 1830. 

" William Sewall 18.30. 

17, 10. William Chambers 1826. 

'' John C. Conover 1827. 

'• Snsanna Pratt 1826. 

'' David Black 1830. 

" James Marshal 1 1826. 

" Jacob Ward 1829. 

•• William Porter 1826. 

" Jacob Lawrence 1826. 

'■ Carrollton R. Gatton. . .1826. 

" Thomas Gatton 1826. 

" Archibald Job 1826. 

'■ Peter Conover 1826. 

William Conover 1826. 

" Abner Tinnen 1826. 

" Xathan Compton 1826. 

'• Joseph T. Leonnrd 1826. 

" Bazaleel Gillett 1830. 

" George T. Bristow 1826. 

" William H. Johnson.... 1830. 

William Breeden 1827 

" • Peter Taylor 1829 

" John Ream 1830. 

'' Samuel Way 1828. 

" Archer Herndon 1827. 

" Evin Martin 1827 

James Sturgis 1827 

" Jonathan Atherton 1830. 



17, 10, Jacob Yaple 1829. 

" Alexander D. Cox 1826. 

" Henry Madison 1826. 

*' James Marshall 1826. 

•' Jesse AUred 1826. 

" Isaac Mitchell 1829. 

" Thomas Kedman 1826. 

Georgfe Turenian 1827. 

" Edward Fuller 1830. 

Levi Springer 1830. 

" William M. Clark 1827. 

" Georg-e Freeman 1827. 

'' Thomas Payne 1830. 

Lucian T. Bryant 1830. 

" William Lamme 1826. 

'• Silas Freeman 1828. 

" Isaiah Pasehall 1828. 

•• Littleberry Freeman . . .1830. 

'• Silas Freeman 1828. 

19, 9, David McGinnis 1830. 

•' Stephen Handy 1830. 

•' Tlios Plaster 1828. 

'• William Linn 1830. 

• • Ptichard McDonald 1S29. 

" Wilson Eunyon 1830. 

" William D. Leeper 1830. 

William Myers 1830. 

•• John Taylor 1829. 

'• Elias Eog-ers 1830. 

" Jesse Armstrong 1830. 

IS, 9, William Holmes 1826. 

" John Lee 1830. 

'• Joseph Lee 1830. 

" Eobert Nance 1830. 

'' James Fletcher 1829. 

17, 9, John Hughes 1827. 

'• Susanna Walker 1828. 

•' Solomon Eeduian 1826. 

•' Henry Kittner 1826. 

Martin Hardin 1827. 

" Josiah Flinn 1826. 

" David Manchester 18.30. 

" William Miller 1826. 

" Strother Ball 1826. 

" Samuel Moutgomer}'. . .1830. 







19. 8, 


18, 8. 




17, 8, 


Burton Litton 1830. 

Page A. Williams 1826. 

Morris Davis 1826. 

Josiali Sims 1826. 

Eobert Fitzhugh 1826. 

Jesse Gum 1827. 

Thomas Atkinson 1826. 

John Vance 1826. 

James Welch 1827. 

Eicliard Jones 1826. 

James Fletcher 1829. 

Andrew Beard 1827. 

John Bridges 1826. 

John Creel 1827. 

Joseph McDonald 1826. 

Gersham Jayne 1829. 

Jonas McDonald 1828. 

Anthony M. Thomas. ..1S26. 

Alexander Beard 1829. 

John Eobertson 1829. 

Felix French 1829. 

Eicliard A. Lane 1830. 

John McDonald 1828. 

Isham Eeavis . . 1830. 

Eobert Taylor 1830. 

Wm. P. Morgan 1830. 

Samuel Eeid 1828. 

Robert Elkins 1829. 

Ealph Elkins 1829. 

Henry Williams 1828. 

Eaton Nance 1828. 

John Lucas 1829. 

Susan Washburne 1828. 

David Williams 1829. 

Joel Ragsdale 1829. 

James B. Watson 1826. 

Wm. Cooper 1826. 

Stephen Short 1830. 

Wm. Crow 1826. 

Lewis Farmer 1830. 

Stephen Lee 1830. 

Eli Cox 1823. 

Eobert Johnson 1828. 

G. W.Wilson 1826. 

Wm. T. Hamilton 1826. 

These make, b}- qounting, 212 persons who entered land in what 
is now Cass County, previous to the deep snow. 


At this early date, before there were any other towns than Beards- 
town, localities were known by other names, as for instance, Robin- 
son's Mills, Panther Creek, Miller's Ferry, Schoouover's Ford, North 
Prairie, Jersey Prairie or "Workman Post-office, Panther or Painter 
Grove, as it was called ; Painter Creek Post-office, where Chandler- 
ville is now ; Little Painter, Middle Creek Settlement, Fly Point. 
Sylvan Grove, Puncheon Camp, Lynn Grove, etc. 

The winter of 1830-31 was a remarkable one, and will always be 
remembered by old settlers as the most terrible for sufferino- within 
their memories. The snow fell at first about thirty inches deep, then 
the weather settled, and another snow fell, and another, until it was 
from four to six feet deep. In drifts it was much deeper. Fences 
were covered and lanes filled up. There was much sufierino- everv- 
where. Stock died for want of food. Deer stood in their tracks and 
died. Prairie chickens and quails having alighted in the snow, could 
not get out. Man was the onlv animal that could walk, and o-ame 
alone, of the food kind, was all he had in plent}-. That could be 
had for the picking up from the snow, for it was helpless. But. 
finally, even game became so poor from starvation that it was unfit 
for food. The snow staid on the ground nearly all winter, until 
March, and people ran short of every thing, particularly fuel. 
Thomas Beard, recollecting a widow with a small family living at the 
blufts, generously walked out there, and found her and her family 
on the verge of starvation, and hovering over the last remnants of a 
fire, she having used all her fuel. Mr. Beard tore up some fencing 
and chopped a large pile of wood for her, and afterwards carried 
provisions to her through the snow on foot, a distance of seven miles, 
as a horse could not travel. 

In 1831 the Indians became very troublesome in this State, and 
threatened to overrun the white population. They were led by Black 
Hawk, their chief and prophet, who pretended to have power given 
him by the Great Spirit to destroy the pale-faces. He attacked the 
whites with so much vigor that militia companies were formed for 
self-protection. A battalion of this militia, of 275 men, commanded 
by Major Israel Stillman, of Fulton County, was, on the 14th of May, 
1832, attacked by Black Hawk on a small branch of Sj-camore Creek 
and badly defeated and cut up. This was called the battle of 
" Stillman's Run." The first call which Governor Reynolds made 
for troops was in Ma}-, 1831, for all able-bodied men who were 
willing to fight the Indians, to the number qf seven hundred, to 
rendezvous at Beardstown, on the 10th dav of June. On that dav 


they assembled iu Beardstown in three times that number. Gov. 
Reynolds organized them at once by appointing Joseph Duncan, of 
Jacksonville, brigadier-general, and our Enoch C. March, of Beards- 
town, quartermaster. March was equal to the occasion. He was so 
well acquainted with this vicinity that he soon furnished the necessary 
supplies. But Gov. Reynolds was at a loss to know how to arm 
those who had not brought rifles. In this emergency, Francis Arenz 
came to the rescue. He was a merchant in Beardstown, and had 
previously purchased some light brass-barreled fowling-pieces, which 
had been manufactured in the East for a South American government, 
and not answering the purpose for which they were made they were 
shipped "West to shoot birds with. These answered excellently for 
arms for light horsemen and skirmishers. The troops were encamped 
above town, where the saw mills now stand, until they took up their 
march. In their ranks were some of the best men of the country. 

I will relate one incident only, connected with the Black-Hawk 
War, to show how it affected the then future history, of at least a 
portion, of Cass County. 

David Epler. a resident of North Prairie in this county, came to 
Beardstown to purchase two barrels of salt. He drove two beautiful 
horses, well harnessed, and a good wagon ; altogether just what Col. 
March wanted for war material. He accordingly seized them, under 
that law so universally adopted in war times, that ''might makes 
right," and took them from Mr. Epler, nolens volens. But Mr. 
Epler refused to give them up, and, his face livid with anger, declared 
that he would defend them with his life, and that the colonel and his 
troops would have to walk over his dead body before he would give up 
his favorite team ; at least, until he was paid their value. Col. March 
then offered to pay for them what two disinterested men should say 
they were worth. This was agreed to. There were then stopping 
in Beardstown two comparative strangers. Dr. Charles Chandler and 
a man named Crawford ; to them the cause was referred. They, 
having come from the East, were wholly unacquainted with the low 
prices of this new country, and priced the team at eastern values, 
which Col. March felt in honor bound to abide by, and tjie consequence 
was Mr. Epler got S350 for his team, which was a large price then. 

This incident leads me to relate how Dr. Chandler came here. 
He left Rhode Island, where he had a good practice in his profession, 
and a new house which he had just built, and started westward with 
his family, with the intention of settling at Fort Clark, where Peoria 
now stands. 


When the steamer, upon which he came up the Illinois River, 
arrived at Beardstown — the hostile attitude of the Indians in the 
vicinity, and the preparations for a general Indian war, induced the 
captain to discharge his passengers and freight at Beardstown, he 
thinking it unsafe to go any further north with his boat. 

While here, Dr. Chandler took a ride up the Sangamon Bottom 
with Thomas Beard, and he was so well pleased with that part of it 
where Chandlerville now stands, that he determined to go no further 
north, but to settle there. This was in the spring of 1832. The 
bottom and blufis had been burned over, and the new, fresh, green 
grass and beautiful flowers had sprung up : the trees and vines and 
shrubbery were dressed in their most inviting foliage, and he had 
never seen so beautiful a sight. In a short time he took his wife and 
little daughter to see their future home, and they were equally 
delighted with it. There was a wagon road up the bottom, winding 
along the bluffs, in about the same place it now does, but so little was 
it travelled that it had not hindered the fire passing over it, and in 
the middle of the road, between the two horse-paths, was a ridge of 
green grass mingled with strawberry vines, which looked like a row 
of cultivated strawberries, and these right in the road ; the doctor 
and his wife and little daughter ate in abundance the large, ripe 
berries. The doctor entered 160 acres of land where the town of 
Chandlerville now stands, and built his cabin upon the site of the 
present Congregational Church. He broke up three acres of land 
that spring, late as it was, and raised a crop of buckwheat upon it, 
without any fence around. 

There was a universal custom among the settlers at that time, 
that ever}' man should be entitled to 80 acres of land on each side of 
the land already entered by him until such time as he was able to 
erUer it, as it was called, or, in other words, until he could raise 
mone}' enough to buy it from the Government at 81.25 per acre ; and 
it was considered as mean as stealing for another man to enter it. 

Shortly after the doctor had settled there, a man stopped there 
named English, lO was so well pleased with the prospect that he 
concluded to ente. land and settle there. The doctor assisted and 
befriended him all he could, and, to induce him to stop, oflJ'ered to 
give up his claim to one-half of the 80 acre tract, next to the land 
that English wanted, and let him enter it. Ensflish told him that he 
was going to Springfield and enter the lolwle tract : that he did not 
care for the customs of the country* ; and that he was going to have 
it right or wrong, and started for Springfield. All of Dr. Chandler's 


expostulations with him did not avail anything. The doctor went to 
his cabin and looked over his little pile of money and found that he 
had fifty dollars. He thought that his neighbor McAuly had some 
money, and, saddling his best horse, he rode to McAuly's house and 
borrowed fifty dollars more. Thus provided, he took -a different route 
through the woods and prairies from that chosen by English, and, 
putting his horse to his best speed, started for the Land Office. 

When about ten miles of Springfield, he overtook two young 
men on horse-back, and as his horse was foaming with perspiration, 
and nearly tired out, he rode slowly along with the young men, as 
well to rest his horse, as to relate to them the cause of his haste. 
"When he told them of the meanness of the man English, one of the 
young men was so indignant that he offered the doctor his own 
comparatively fresh horse, that he might make all haste and thwart 
the efforts of English, while the young man would ride the doctor's 
horse slowl\- into town. But the doctor rode his own horse, got 
safely to the Land Office and entered the land before English got 
there. Sometime after that he wanted to have his land surveyed, 
and the county surveyor lived at Jacksonville, but a neighbor told 
him that there was a better surveyor living at Salem, in Sangamon 
County, named Abraham Lincoln. So the doctor sent for him, and 
when he came with his implements to do the surveying, the doctor 
found that Abraham Lincoln, the survej^or, was the same young man 
who had so kindly oflTered to lend him his horse, so that he might 
defeat the rascalh' man English. 

Dr. Chandler was the first physician in Central Illinois who 
adopted quinine in his practice as a remedy ; the first who introduced 
the practice of the infliction of bodily pain as a remedy for over 
doses of opium ; and the first who opposed bleeding as a remedy. 
When he went to Sangamon Bottom, he was called into practice 
before he could build a stable, and for weeks, when at home, tied his 
horse to a tree and pulled grass to feed him on, having no scythe to 
cut it with. He built the first frame house within the present limits 
of this county. It was 10x12 feet, one-story, and aingled with split 
and shaved oak shingles, which made a good n of for 25 vears — a 
fact worthy of notice. He built it for a drug store and office, and it 
is still in existence. In 1836, he built his present large residence. 
His reason for building so large a house at that early day was, that 
it was exactly like the one he had built and left in Rhode Island ; and 
as his family had sacrificed so much in leaving their comfortable 


home for the wilds of the west, he wished to make a home as near 
like their former one as possible. 

In 1833, Jackson was president ; John Rej-nolds, governor ; and 
Clay and Webster were in their glory. Beardstown was quite a 
flourishing town, and the port on the river from which most towns in 
the interior of the State got their supplies of goods, and from which 
their produce was shipped to market. 

In that 3-ear Francis Arenz began publishing the first newspaper 
north of Jacksonville and south of Chicago, entitled " The Beards- 
town Chronicle and Illinois Military Bounty Land Advertiser." This 
paper did the advertising for the counties of Mason. Warren, Brown, 
Schuyler, McDonough. Stark, Knox, and Fulton, as there were no 
newspapers printed in those counties. There were no lawyers in 
Beardstown then, but those usually consulted by our citizens were : 
John J. Hardin. Walter Jones. Aaron B. Fontaine. Josiah Lamborn, 
and Murray McConnell of Jacksonville, and William H. Richardson 
of Rushville. 

In 1833, there was not a single merchant north of the Maimstarre, 
outside of Beardstown, and not one advertised in the " Beardstown 
Chronicle ;" and money was so scarce that it was almost impossible 
for any kind of business to be transacted. Francis Arenz humorously 
ascribes the phenomenon of the great meteoric shower of that year, 
to the fact, that a day or two previously a subscriber had paid him 
two dollars, all in cash, for a year's subscription to the '' Chronicle." 

The names of the steamers which navigated the Illinois River in 
1833-34. were the Peoria, Exchange, Ottawa. Ceres, Utility, Cavalier, 
Express, Black Hawk, and Olive Branch. 

James B. Kenner kept the Bounty Land Hotel at Beard's landing, 
on the west bank of the river, opposite Beardstown. 

Prices of staples in 1833 at Beardstown were : Flour, imported, 
per barrel, S4.2o ; wheat, in 90 days, per bushel, 50c. ; wheat, cash, 
per bushel, -ioc. ; salt, per bushel, 75c. ; corn, per bushel, 12 to 16c. ; 
beans, per bushel, 50c. ; whiskey, per gallon, 46c. ; pork, per lb. 
2. 2.; butter, per lb. 10c. ; beef, per lb. 2|c. ; cigars, per 1000, §1 ; 
.gars, per box, best, 81. 

The business men of Beardstown in 1834 were : Francis Arenz, 
L. W. Talmage & Co., T. & J. S. Wilbourne. J. M. Merchant & Co., 
Haywood Read, J. Parrott & Co., merchants ; John Alfred, M. 
Kingsbury, and Lisoomb & Buckle, tailors ; J. Roulston, hat-maker ; 
Henry Boemler, cabinet maker ; M. McCreary, cooper ; Malony & 


Smith, forwarding and commission business. There were also : Dr. 
J. W. Fitch, Dr. Owen M. Long, and Dr. Chas. Hochstetter. 

As descriptive of the business of Beardstown, I will quote the 
following extract from an editorial in the " Beardstown Chronicle " 
of March 1, 1834: 

' ' Since the opening of the river, there has been shipped from this 
place 1,502 barrels of flour and 150 barrels of pork. Ready for 
shipment at the warehouses at this time, 581 barrels of flour, 400 
barrels pork, and 150 kegs of lard. This is d fair commencement of 
exporting surplus produce from a country where a few years ago many 
of such articles were imported. Two steam flouring mills and one 
steam saw mill are now in operation. A large brewery and distillery 
are being built, with a grist mill. Besides, arrangements are being 
made for building ware, store, and dwelling houses. Four years ago 
only three families, residing in log huts, lived in this place, and now, 
we venture to assert, more business is transacted in this town than 
any other place in the State." 

The old Brick School House in Beardstown, now a part of Dr. 
Theo. Hoffman's premises, was built in 1834, by Beard .and Arenz, 
and presented b}* them to the inhabitants. 

At that time great stress was laid upon the navigability of the 
Sangamon River, as boats frequently passed up and down that stream. 
In 1832, a steamboat of the larger class went up the Sangamon to 
within five miles of Springfield, and discharged its cargo there. 

The farm houses, just previous to the organizing of Cass County, 
were mostly built of logs, and, in many cases, innocent of glass. 
The floors were made of puncheon or split logs, as saw mills were 
few and far between. The fire-places were made of logs filled up 
with clay dug from beneath the floors. A temporary wall would be 
built about two feet inside the log wall ; the space then filled with 
earth, and wetted, was pounded or rammed down solid. The inner 
wall was then taken away and a fire built inside, which baked the 
jams like brick. Then this was surmounted with a stick and clay 
chimne}-, a pole was run across to hang kettles on ; and the chink," v^ 
between the logs of the house were filled up with sticks, clay, anu , 
chopped straw. The doors and roof of the house were made of 
split boards, and frequently not a nail or any iron was used in the 
vehole house. The roof-boards were kept in their places by logs 
weighing them down ; the doors, held together by wooden pins, hung 
on wooden hinges, and latched with wooden latches. The houses 
generallv had but one room and two doors, but no window. Usuall}', 


one door of the house was left open, no matter how cold the weather 
was, to admit light ; and rarely both doors were closed, except when 
the famih' were about to retire to rest. So habituated were people to 
open doors that that custom prevailed even after the introduction of 
glass into the cabins, for windows. It is related, that on a very cold 
day, an eastern man who was visiting a friend at his log cabin, 
proposed to close the door to make the house warmer. The pro- 
prietor expressed his surprise at the proposition, but did not object 
to try it as an experiment. After the door had been shut a few 
minutes, he seemed much pleased with the result, and said, "Well, 
I declare I I believe it does make a diflerence." 
A rural poet has truthfully stated that — 

" In every country village where 
Ten chunnej's' smoke perfume the air, 

Contiguous to a steeple. 
Great gentle-folks are found, a score, 
Who can't associate any more 

With common country people.'" 

So even in our early days we had some aristocrats. Occasionallj', a 
man was found that built his house of hewn logs, and had sawn 
planks for his floor, and perhaps a glass window. And then some 
ambitious neighbor must over top him, and the wonderful palatial 
double-log-house, with a porch between, appeared. By the youngsters 
this seemed extravagant and useless ; but the surprise of eveiy- 
body was Dr. Chandler's large, well-finished frame house. Even 
beds were more accommodating then than now, and would hold many 
more occupants. There was one, usually, in each of two corners in 
every log cabin, and under each of these was a trundle-bed which 
2mlled out at night ; and then there was bedding to spare in most 
houses, and, when friends called and staj'ed all night, which they 
usually did, a field-bed was made that accommodated all. "When 
meal time came, a large amount of good wholesome provender would 
be supplied, considering the few cooking utensils that were used. 
Even in well-to-do families the articles for cooking consisted of a 
Dutch oven, in which first the bread and then the meat was cooked, 
a coffee-pot, and a kettle to cook vegetables, when they had any. 
Wheat bread was scarce, and corn bread was universally used. When 
bread was spoken of without a prefix, corn bread was meant ; any 
other kind being designated as ivheat bread or r^je bread. I recollect 
a circumstance which will illustrate how corn bread was respected. 
When Major Miller kept the Western Hotel in Jacksonville, iu 1836, 


there was a grocery under it called " Our House." A Yankee, who 
had been stopping Avith the Major, called into the grocery to get his 
bitters, and outraged the thirsty customers at the bar by an oftensive 
allusion to the corn bread he had had set before him at the hotel 
table, stating amons; other remarks, that corn bread was only fit for 
hogs to eat. At this an irritable native took offence ; he j)eeled off" 
his coat, and squared his brawny shoulders before the astonished 
Yankee, and said, " See yer, stranger, I don't know yon who you 
are, and I don't keer a durn, nuther ; but I'll have you understand 
that the man that makes fun of corn bread makes fun of the principal 
part of m}' living." It was with considerable difficult}- that a fuss 
was prevented, and then only by the Yankee apologising and treating 
the crowd to the drinks. 

While speaking of Yankees, I might just as well sa}-, that this 
part of Morgan Count}' was settled principally b}' citizens from south 
of the Potomac and Ohio Rivers ; and a strong prejudice was felt 
against people from New England, who were all denominated 
"Yankees;" and, to be just, candor compels me to admit that the 
representatives of the descendants of the pilgrim fathers, who peddled 
clocks and tinware, and notions, and essences, and the like, through 
this part of the country at that time, were not calculated in every 
instance to inspire any high respect for them as a class. 

Fitz Greene Helleck, the poet, writes of them as 

•' Apostates, who are meddling 
With merchandise, pounds, shillings, pence, and peddling; 
Or. wandering through southern countries, teaching 

The A, B. C. from Webster's spelling-book ; 
Gallant and godly, making love, and preaching, 

And gaining, by what they call " hook and crook," 
And what the moralists call overreaching. 

A decent living. The Virginians look 
Upon tliem with as favorable eyes 
As Gabriel on the devil in paradise." 

In fact, a mean trick was always expected from a Yankee ; while there 
is reason to believe that, reall}-, there was sometimes just as mean 
things done by persons from other portions of the nation. To 
illustrate : Nearlv fortv vears a2:o, I attended a wolf hunt on Indian 
Creek. There were about a hundred of us, on horseback, up on a 
rise in the timber, waiting to hear from the hounds, and passing the 
time in conversation. The subject of discussion, a not unusual one, 
was the Yankees, and each man had a storv to tell of some Yankee 
trick. Finally, old Uncle Bob Martin, who had but one e3'e, but was. 



nevertheless, quite an oracle in such matters, had his say, in this 
wise : " Well, gentlemen, I'll tell yer what it is. I'A-e seed a heap 
'er Yankees in my day, and I know all about 'em. I know 'em like a 
book, inside, and out, and I tell yer what it is, gentlemen, all the 
Yankees don't come from New England nuther, not b}' a durn sight. 
And the meanest Yankee I ever seed, gentlemen, was a Kanetucky 

I said corn bread was the principal article of diet then. But there 
were various kinds of corn bread. That most in use was corn dodger. 
This was simph' made of corn meal, hot water and a little salt, 
stirred together to the consistenc}' of dough ; then a double handful 
was ronnded, flatted, and placed in a hot Dutch oven, surrounded 
with glowing embers. An oven would hold three or four of these, 
and they were cooked so quickl}' that a woman could keep quite a 
large number of hungry men in business. Then there was the pumpkin 
bread, made b}' mixing pumpkins and meal, and the pone. This last 
was considered suitable for kings, and I must tell you how it was 
made. It was thus : Take as much corn meal as is wanted for use ; 
sift it ; put it in an iron kettle and pour on it boiling water ; stir it 
till it becomes well mixed and quite thin ; this being right, let it 
remain in the same vessel till morning, and if kept warm it will be 
well fermented (which is necessar}') ; then put it into a hot Dutch 
oven, it being heated before the dough is put in it ; apply good live 
embers on the lid of the oven as well as under it, being careful not to 
burn it. These were sometimes baked in hot ashes and embers, 
without an oven. These were called ash-pones. 

Butter was not common, except in the spring and summer ; but 
large quantities of fat bacon and hams were used instead, which were 
kept the year round, in the smoke houses, one of which every family 
had. Potatoes were unkno'^n for many years ; and when they were 
introduced, they were at first very unpopular. People that ate them 
were stigmatized as Irish. Deer, prairie-chickens and other game, 
as well as domestic fowls, were ver}' plentj' and much used for food. 

The principal clothing worn by the men was of Kentucky jeans, 
made into pants and hunting shirts. Under-clothing was hardly ever 
worn, even in winter, and overcoats, never ; and yet men seemed as 
warm and comfortable then as thej* do now, with under-garments and 
overcoats. The ladies dressed principally in linse}' of their own 
weaving. I well recollect when calico was first generally worn. 
Patterns with large flowery figures were preferred ; and although 
our prairies were covered all over in profusion with the most beautiful 


of flowers, like unto a garden of the gods, yet, I must admit, the 
prettiest flowers to my delighted eyes were those printed upon calico. 
And I might admit further, that they are not altogether displeasing 
to me even now. At the huskings, weddings, meetings, and merry- 
makings, the girls looked as pretty then in their home-made suits as 
they do now, though arrayed in all the gaud and glory of the milliner. 
The principal occasions of great public gatherings were political 
discussions ; for, either fortunatel}* or unfortunately (and which it is 
is a gi'eat moral question) , there never was a man hung within the 
limits of this count}- at the hands of justice, so the public have never 
been called together out of curiosity on that account. Among our 
public speakei's at that time were : Lincoln, Hardin, Baker, Lam- 
born, Richardson, and more latterly, Yates and Douglas, besides 
many from a distance. Besides these occasions, we had preaching 
in the schoolhouses and barns and groves. Often have some of us, 
now present, listened to Reddick Horn, Cyrus Wright, Peter Cart- 
wright, " Old Man Hammaker," of North Prairie, and many others. 
How many of the old settlers here recollect Old Father Doj'le, 
who used to shout " power" until the far-off" woods rang, and the 
hills sent back the echo. Oh ! those public meetings in the woods ; 
how grand they were ! Bryant sings of them and says — 

'" The groves were God's first temples. 
Ah ! why should we in the world's riper years neglect 
God's ancient sanctuaries, and adore 
Only among the crowd, and under roofs 
That our frail hands have raised." 

There used to be a famous camp meeting ground for many years 
at " Uncle " William Holmes', north-east of Virginia, and people 
attended it from twenty miles around. When this county was first 
formed, there were but few farms on North Prairie, except those 
skirting the edge of the timber ; and a man could cross it any where 
on horseback, led onh' by Indian trails, or the points of timber. 
For instance, a man could start from the Jacksonville road at Yaples 
or Peterfish's farm, south of where Virginia now is, and go straight 
to Holmes' camp ground, a distance of about ten miles, northeast, 
and not pass a fence. 

In 1835, the Beardstown and Sangamon Canal Company were 
incorporated, and there was considerable interest taken in that work. 

In 1836, on the 16th day of June, Dr. H. H. Hall laid out and 
platted the town of Virginia, he having entered the land upon which 
it stands a short time previously. 


About this time there became a gradually growing feeling of 
dissatisfaction in this, the northern part of Morgan Count}', with the 
management of county affairs at Jacksonville. It seemed to the 
people here, that Morgan County was ruled by Jacksonville, and 
that that village was ruled by a clique, or ring, as it would now be 
called. This feeling became more conspicuous, as at that time the 
removal of the State capital was being worked up. It was 
provided in the Constitution of 1818, while the capital was at 
Kaskaskia, that the Legislature should locate a new town, which 
should be the capital for twenty 3'ears. This the Legislature 
did, and named the place Vandalia. The constitutional limit of 
that location was fast approaching, and a new seat of government 
was to be selected. 

A statute was passed February 5, 1833, providing, that after the 
expiration of the time prescribed by the constitution for the seat of 
government remaining at Vandalia, the people should vote for one of 
the following named plaoes for the permanent seat of government, 
to-wit : "The geographical centre of the State," Jacksonville, 
Springfield, Alton, Vandalia, and Peoria, and the point receiving the 
highest number of votes should forever remain the seat of govern- 
ment. The southern part of the State was at that time most thickly 
settled, and it soon became evident, that, unless the people of Central 
Illinois united upon a town in their portion of the State, Vandalia 
or Alton would gain it. The people in the northern portion of 
the State were willing to sacrifice Peoria, but the people of Central 
Illinois were divided between Springfield and Jacksonville. There 
was a growing feeling, however, in favor of Springfield, as being the 
most available ; and a convention was called b\' the central and 
northern counties, to meet at Rushville, on the 7th da}' of April, 1834, 
to unite on one point to support for the State capital. Jacksonville 
was opposed to this, and favored the deferring the removal of the 
seat of government to some future time, hoping to gain strength by 
this line of polic}'. Consequentl}', Jacksonville refused to take part 
in the Rushville convention, while the northern part of the 
county met at Beardstown, decided to take part in the convention, 
and elected Archibald Job and Thomas Beard to represent them 
there, which they afterwards did. This occasioned a discussion 
between the newspaper of Jacksonville, conducted by Josiah Lam- 
born, and the "Chronicle," on the part of Beardstown, by Francis 


To show the state of this feeling" as early as 1834, the following 
is from the " Chronicle " of March 25th, of that year : 

"In the 'Chronicle,' No. 35, we published the preamble and 
resolutions adopted at a public meeting held in Beardstown on the 
20th of Februaiy last. In one of the resolutions, Archibald Job and 
Thomas Beard were appointed to attend as delegates at Rushville, 
on the first Monda}- of April next, to represent the wishes of the 
people in the northern part of Morgan County. 

' '■ In our last number we published the proceedings of a meeting 
held in Jacksonville on the 3d inst. One of the resolutions adopted 
at that meeting, declares, that ' from the neutral position of Morgan 
County in relation to locality and interest, it is inexpedient, at this 
time, for citizens of our county to send delegates to the convention 
proposed to be held on the first Monda}- of April next.' 

" We also published a letter from J. Lamborn, Esq., to the editor 
of this paper, explanatory of the views and feelings of those 
attending the Jacksonville meeting towards their fellow citizens of 
the northern part of Morgan County, who composed the Beardstou^n 
meeting ; but as this letter was not part of the proceedings at 
Jacksonville, and the resolutions adopted are contrary and in 
opposition to the friendl}- feelings privately expressed b}- Mr. Lam- 
born, we have to take the sentiments as expressed l)y the meeting. 

' " The meeting at Beardstown was composed of freemen. They 
acted for themselves, and appointed two delegates to represent their 
wishes at the proposed convention, leaving four delegates to be 
chosen in other parts of Morgan County. If our fellow citizens at 
Jacksonville, and in the southern and western parts of the county, 
did not choose to send delegates, no objection or dissatisfaction 
would have been entertained ; but a meeting composed of about 
one hundred and fifty individuals at Jacksonville and vicinit}' (being 
acquainted with the sentiments expressed here), have assumed to 
indicate in their resolution that it is inexpedient, at this time, for the 
citizens of our county to send delegates. To this decree the citizens 
of the north will not submit. "We unhesitatingly say, that two 
delegates will attend and represent their wishes. We believe the 
time has gone by when a few leaders of Jacksonville controlled the 
votes of Morgan County ; and we would advise those who have 
influence in and about Jacksonville, to use it with discretion. The 
people north of Indian Creek, and we doubt not in other parts of the 
county, understand their own interest, and will act accordingly." 



The convention was held at Rushville at the appointed time, and 
such united action was taken as eventuated in the passage of a 
statute on the 3d day of February, 1837, which permanenth' located 
the seat of government at Springfield, and Archibald Job, A. G. 
Henry and Thomas Hunghan were appointed commissioners to 
superintend the erection of the State House. 

At the very same session which removed the capital, on the 3d 
day of March, 1837, a bill was passed that the people of Morgan 
Count}' should, on the third Monday of April of that 3'ear, vote for 
and against the division of that countv, on the line running through 
the middle of townships seventeen, north, and in case the vote 
favored it, all north of that line to constitute a new county, to be 
called the county 9f Cass : that the county seat should be at Beards- 
town, until the people should permanently locate the county seat by 
election ; and the school fund should be divided according to the 
number of the townships between the two counties. 

The election was had ; the feeling between the northern and 
southern sides of the county was such that the election was favor- 
able to division, and the northern townships immediately called an 
election for oflScers with which to organize the new county of Cass. 

There were then but three voting precincts in this part of Morgan 
County, which was about being formed into a new county ; they were : 
Beardstown, Virginia and Richmond, and the following are the 
names of every man that voted at that election, with the names of 
the precincts they voted in : 

Poll Book at an election held at the house of Moses Perkins, in the 
Beardstown Precinct, in the County of Cass, Ills., August 7, 1837. 
Thos. Beard, James Arnold, John Scheffer, judges ; T. U. Webb, C. 
W. Clarke, clerks. 

John F. Bailey, 
Alex. King, 
Ben. Beasley, 
Christ. Shanks. 
Jerem. Wilson. 
Jordan Marshall. 
Jos. Britten, 
Geo. Bryant, 
Jas. King, 
Geo. McKay, 
John C. Linsley, 
Elizur Anderson. 
Edmund Enslv. 

C. F. Kandage. 
Elisha Marshall, 
John Marshall. 
Jos. Seaman, 
Isham Revis. 
Nich. Parsons. 
Lewis G. Lambert, 
AVm. Cox. 
Frankl. Stewart. 
Sam. Hunt, 
Jas. Pounds. 
Fredy White, 
Landerick Kale, 

Evan Jenkins, 
T. C. Mills. 
Wm. Tnrkymire, 
J. W. Crewdson, 
Thos. Haskins, 
Andr. Keltner. 
Amasa Reeves, 
Chr. Boyd, 
Jos. Haskins. 
Milton Parmele, 
Jno. Quail. 
Barnard Beist, 
Ben. Britton, 

j — 1 



Geo. Cowan. 

Wm. Bryant. 

Wm. Home. 

J. N. Jenkins, 

Dav. Marshall, 

Thos. C. Black, 

Dan. Britton. 

Bluford Haines, 

Owen Clemens, 

Sam. Groshong, 

Hy. Schaft'er, 

Bradford Rew, 

Jn. Kettely. 

Thos. Pierce, 

Lewis Cowan, 

Wm. Qui org. 

Jacob J. Brown . 

Nich. Coterall. 

Marcus Chandler, 

Jackson Stewart, 

Gottlieb Jokisch, 

Leander Brown, 

Jos. Canby, 

Jn. Cuppy. 

Jas. Garlick. 

Geo. Garlick. 

Godfr. Gutlet. 

Dan'l Boyne. 

Jas. Dickinson, 

John C. Scott, 

Thos. Proctor, 

Wesley Payton, 

Wm. H. McKanley, 

Eich'd Graves, 

Isaac Short. 

Alex. Ratcliff. 

Rich'd Wells. 

Amasa Warren, 

Math. McBride, 

Geo. Brown, 

Geo. Schaeflfr. 

John Burns, 

Ben. Horoni. 

Asa Street. 

John Bridgewater, 

Jos. H. Clemens, 

Jas. Eoaeh, 

Jno. A. Thomas 

Jas. Xeeper, 

Jas. A. Carr. 

John Buck. 

Jackson Scott, 

John Haram, 

Wm. R. White. 

Stephen Buck, 

Zach. Bridgewater, 

Jn. W. Anderson, 

Wni. Shuteman, 

Wm. Moore. 

Henry Collins, 

Edward Salley, 

Wm. R. Parks, 

Hy. Roha, 

Demsey Boyce, 

Jn. P. Dick. 

Wm. Bassett, 

Aaron Powell, 

Joshua Morris. 

Jas. Davidson, 

Jerni. Bowes, 

Wm. W. Clemens. 

Robt. Lindsay, 

Jas. Case, 

J. Philippi, 

Wm. Cross, 

A. Philippi. 

Jas. Scott, 

Jn. Wilbourns, 

P. Philippi. 

Jas. Cook. 

John McKean, 

W. W. Gordon, 

John Gutliff B«rger, 

Jas. Logan. 

Hy. Havekluft, 

Fred. Krohe. 

Jos. Baker, 

Jac. Fisal. 

Aug. Krohe. 

Christ. Xewman, 

John Xewmau, 

Fred. Inkle. 

Thos. Stokes, 

John Yokes, 

Louis Sudbrink, 

Jasper Buck, 

Orrin Hicks, 

Adam Krough. 

Jas. Davis, 

John Waggoner, 

Montela Richardson, 

Jas. Bell, 

Thos. Cowan, 

Rucj' Richardson, 

E. R. Gillet, 

John Hicks. 

W. Moody, 

J. B. Pierce, 

Dav. Xewtuaa, 

Sam. Fletcher. 

Harmon Byrnes, 

G. A. Bonny, 

L. H. Tread way, 

Joshua Alexander, 

Xich. Rheiui. 

John Price. 

Edw'd Treadway, 

Moses Derby, 

Reuben Alexander, 

Chs. Chandler, 

Jas. Bonnett, 

Jn. Miller, 

Peter Light, 

Curtis Hager, 

Lewis Haines, 

"Wm. B. Gaines, 

Dan. Wells, 

Phil. Schaffer. 

Fred. Krohe, 

Hy. P. Ross, 

Gottleib Jokisch, 

Caleb Lee, 

H}-. Kemble. 

Jn. H. Treadway, 

Thos. Carroll, 

Edw. Saunders, 

John Richardson, 

Phil. Kuhu, 

Adolph Shupong, 

Christ'n Kuhl, 

G. Kuhl, 

G. Kuhl. 2d. 

John Holkmon, 

John Rohn, 

Henry T. Foster, 

Seymour Coftren, 

Jac. Downing, 

Dav. Tureman, 
Dav. Spence, 
Moritz Hallenbach, 
Hy. Boemler, 
Dav. Emmerich, 
L. H. Wilkey, 
Thos. J. Moseley, 
Joel K. Bowman, 
\Vm. W. Gillet, 
. Wm. Hemminghouse, 
Fred. Ivors, 
John Decker, 
Chs. Garland, 
John Brackle, 
Chr. Hell, 
Elisha Olcott. v 
Absalom Spence, 
Wm. Ritchie, 
Hy. Miller, 
M. Kemper, 
Wm. Moore, 
Sam. Shaw, 
Jos. McClure, 
Wm. Dougall, 
Wm. Holmes, 
Lewis Xolte, 
Wm. Clark, 
B. W. Schneider, 
Francis Eice, 
Aug. Knapp, 
Dan. Scott, 
Martin F. Higgins, 
Dudley Green, 
Thos. Wilbourne, 
Hy. Braker, 
O. Long, 
John Schaeffer, 
'I'. U. Webb, 
J. Blackraan. 

Pet. B. Bell. 
Morgan Kemper, 
Thos. Bryant. 
Otto Wells. 
J. W. Lippincott, 
Wm. Shepard, 
Sam. Thompson. 
Hy. Hendricker, 
Rob. Moore, 
Wm. Sewell, 
Sam. McKee, 
T. A. Hoffman, 
Reuben Hager, 
John Duchardt, 
Wm. L. Felix, 
John Avers, 
Hammer Oatman, 
Thos. Saunders. 
A. Williams, 
J. B. Wilson, 
Thos. Payne, 
Wm. B. Ulside. 
Dan. Sheldon, 
John McLane, 
Lewis Kloker, 

F. Arenz, 
Moses Perkins, 
Hy. Pheboe. 
Butler Arnold, 
Isaac Plasters, 
J. P. Harvey, 
Wm. H. Williams, 
Ralph Morgan, 

J. P. Crow, 
Austin Shittenden, 

G. W. Clark, 
John Cushman, 
J. S. Wilbourne, 
Wm.. Scott, 

Edvv. Collins. 

John Pierson, 

Lewis Piper, 

Jn. Steele, 

Arn. Arenz, 

Pet. Douglas. 

Hy. Kashner, 

J. M. Quate, 

Jn. W. Gillis, 

Dav. Jones, 

Jos. W. Hardy, 

Wm. Miller, 

Christ. Trone, 

Jessie Ankrom, 
John McKowan, 

Hy. Whittick, 
Carlton Logan, 

Wm. Butler, 
H. Smith. 
J. C. Spence, 
Nich. Kelly, 
Wm. W. Bolt, 
Wm. DeHaven, 
Hy. Wedeking, 
Dan. Riggle, 
G. F. Miller, 
C. J. Norbury. 
T. Graham, Jr., 
Lemuel Plasters, 
Jac. Anderson, 
Hy. McKean, 
JohnW. Pratt, 
John Bull. 
Lewis Stoner, 
Thos. Beard, 
J. Arnold, 
N. B. Thompson. 
A. Batoage, 
Dav. White. 

Poll Book at Richmond Precinct election of 1837, 

Mat'w Soundsberry, Jr. 
John Hillis, 
Wm. T. Kirk, 
Thos. Lockermand. 
Azariah Lewis, 
Levy Dick, 
Gibson Carter. 

David Pratt, 
John Fancier, 
Henry Nichols. 
Jacob Bixler, 
Obadiah Morgan, 
Horatio Purdy, 
Jerry W. Davis. 

John Roberts, 
John Chesshire, 
Thomas Plasters, 
Abner Foster, 
Peter Dick, 
Cary Nance, 
Wm. Linn. 



Enoch Wheelock, 

James B. Conner, 

John Leeper, 

John Wilson, 

Willis Daniels. 

Pleasant Rose, 

Oliver Lege, 

Wm. S. Clemens, 

Geo. Fancier, 

Wni. Lucas, 

Robert Carter, 

James Bonnet, 

Aaion Wrifrht, 

James Wing, 

Cyrus Elmore. 

John Pryor, 

Washington Daniels. 

Thomas Jones, 

Standley Lockerman, 

Ely Cox. 

Henry D. Wilson, 

Henry S. Dutch, 

James Hickey, 

John L. Witty, 

Robert Nance, 

John Baldin, 

Henry Taylor, 

Wm. Myers, 

Ashley Hickey, 

Alfred Daniels, 

Wm. Myers, 

John B. Witty, 

Marcus Cooper, 

Amos Dick. 

Calvin Wilson, -J 

John B. Thompson, 

Henry Dick, 

Charles Scaggs, 

Eaton Xance, 

Jonathan N. Loge, 

W^m. P. Morgan, 

James Hathorn, 

John Hathorn, 

Riley Claxton, 

John Pratt, 

Colman Gaines, 

Zechariah Hash, 

H. W\ Libbeon, 

John Davis, 

John Cook, 

Sylvester Sutton, 

Daniel Robinson, 

Clinton Wilson, 

Robert G. Gaines, 

John Lucas, 

Henry McHenry, 

Amos Bonney, '^ 

Robert Leeper, 

John Johnson, 

James Roles, 

John Taylor. 

Mathew Loundsberry, 

Cyrus Wright, 

Robert B. Taylor, 

Frederick McDonald. 

Election at the house of John De "Weber, in the Virginia Precinct, 

in the County of Cass, Illinois, August 7, 1837. This certificate is 

added : " The county not being organized, and, of course, no Justice 

of Peace or appointed Judge, Mr. Wm. Clark administered the oath 

to the other acting judges, and Mr. James Daniel administered it to 

him and to the clerks. Subscribed by us, 



Louis Thornsberry, 
AVin. Paton, 
Wm. Graves, 
Levi Springer, 
P. S. Oulten, 
John Slack, 
Ezra Dutch, 
Young Phelps, 
John Craig, 
L. B. Ross. 
Thos. Plaster, Sr.. 
Benj. Corby. 
John Glover. 
P. Underwood. Jr., 
Perry G. Price, 
Thos. J. Joy. 

John Daniel. 
Wm. B. Kirk. 
Jeremiah Northern, 
Jos. McDaniel. 
Felix Cameron. 
Robt. Davison. 
H. Osborne, 
Benedict Cameron, 
Anderson Phelps. 
Zeb. Wood, 
Jesse Spicer, 
Wm. Craig, 
Jas. Bland, 
L. Carpenter, 
John Clark. 
L. Clark, 

Geo. Cunningham, 
Michael Reed, 
Green H. Paschal, 
Onslow Watson, 
John McDonald, 
Joel Home. 
Chas. Brady, 
Wm. Daniels, 
W. P. Johnstone. 
W. P. Finch. 
John Carpenter. 
Thos. Lee. 
Thos. G. Howard. 
Joshua Price. 
Green Garner, 
Aaron Bonny, 



Amos L. Bonn}', 
Ephraim Moseley, 
Jas. Ptoss, Sr., 
T. S. Berry, 
A. Bowen, 
John Long, 
Evan Warren, 
John Cunningham, 
Jas. Holland. 
Wm. Fields, 
Alex. Bain. 
Jas. Garner, 
John Biddies. 
Phillip Cochrane, 
H. H. Hall, 
A. Elder, 
A. S. West, 
Wm. M. Clark, 
Wm. Blain. 

J. S. Wilbourne 11 

Lemon Plaster 81 

]^. B. Thompson 30 

Alfred Elder 64 

Titus Phelps, 
Jas. Williams, 
Henry Hopkins, 
Thos. Boicourt, 
John Robinson, 
George Shaw, 
J. M. Ross, 
Pleas. Scott, 
Jas. Biddle. 
J. T. Powell. 
John De Weber, 
Reddick Horn, 
Archibald Job, 
George Beggs, 
B. Stribling, 
Chas. P. Anderson, 
S. Steveson. 
Jas. Daniels, 


Probate Justice. 
Wm. Scott 26 

M. F. Higgins 15 

Thos. Graham 1 

James B. Davis, 
John Redman, 
Elias Matthew, 
Thos. Finn, 
Daniel Cauby, 
L. B. Freeman. 
J. M. McLean, 

B. A. Blantin, 
Jos. Jump, 

C. H. Oliver, 
Alex. Huflman, 
Jonas McDonald, 
John Peirce, 
John Biddlecome, 
Jas. Berry. 

M. O'Brien, 
Isaiah Paschal. 
M. H. Biddies, 

Jas. Berrj- 

J. B. Bueb 

County Commissioners^ Treasurer. 
Thos. Wilbourn 14 J. C. Spense 84 

County Commissioners'' Clerk. 
J. M. Pratt 52 R. G. Gains 49 

County Commissioners. 

Amos Bonney 60 G.F.Miller 16 H. McKean . . 

Beuj. Stribling 95 Henry McHenry .... 7 

County Surveyor. 
Wm. Holmes 86 Wm. Clark 19 

C. Rew 27 J. Anderson . . . .None. Halsey Smith. 



Dr. O. M. Long 7 



The election was held on the first daj- of August, 1837, and the 
following named oflBc^'S were elected : Joshua P. Crow, Amos 
Bonney and George F. Miller, county commissioners ; John S. 
Wilbourne, probate justice of the peace ; John W. Pratt, clerk of 
county commissioners' court ; K. B. Thompson, clerk of the circuit 
court ; Lemon Plaster, sheriff. These men were sworn into office by 
Thomas Pogue, a Beardstown magistrate. 



On the 14th da}' of August, the county commissioners met and 
organized Cass County. At this first meeting of the Board, tlie new 
county was divided into six precincts, which were named : Beards- 
town, Monroe, Virginia, Sugar Grove, Richmond and Bowens. 

When this count}' was organized there was not a house, built 
exchisively for religious worship, in it, and not one in all Morgan 
County outside of Jacksonville. Physicians were scarce, and fever 
and ague quite common. Game was plenty, some of which was very 
disagreeable, particularly wolves, and an occasional panther. The 
wolves very seldom did violence to human beings ; but when the 
weather was cold and stormy, and the ground frozen, they were so 
bold and threatening, that nobody cared to risk himself out alone at 
night. The only instance of violence to a man within my recollection, 
was the case of Esquire Daniel Troy, living near Bethel, who was 
walking home one night from town, carrying a quarter of beef on his 
shoulder. He was attacked by a gang of wolves, the beef taken 
away from him, and he very roughly handled. 

There were a few large gray wolves also, that were very much 
feared. One cold, bright, moon-shiny night, I heard an uncommon 
fuss with my dogs, and opened my cabin door. A favorite little 
black dog immediately pounced into the house, and the largest gray 
wolf I ever saw, which was after him, tried to follow. The door was 
open, and I had no time to get my rifle. The only weapon at hand 
was a stick of fire wood, but with this I did good execution, and 
Mr. Wolf had to beat a retreat. So severely had I beaten him, that 
he immediately left our premises. I afterwards heard a fuss among 
the dogs at a neighbor's, Armstrong Cooper's house, and then the 
crack of a rifle, and in a short time I heard the dogs and another 
rifle at Mr. Lamb's house, and then all was still. I found next 
morning that these shots of Cooper and Lamb had killed him. He 
was a monster, and measured nine feet and nine inches, from his nose 
to the end of his tail. 

At that time, there was very little litigation among the country 
people, and personal altercations were usually settled by a resort to 

It was in the winter of 1836-37, I believe, although I would defer 
my recollection to others, if they think I am mistaken, that we had 
what we called the "sudden change" in the weather, the most 
remarkable one I ever saw, heard of, or read of. On Saturday 
morning, there was snow on the ground. The following Sunday was 
a very Avarm day, and Monday, until about one o'clock p.m., was 



Still warmer, and on both clays there was considerable rain. The 
snow had melted into slush and water, which was standing in ponds 
on the level ground, and roaring down declivities. At that hour, the 
weather turned suddenly very cold . In one hour after the change began 
the slush and water was frozen solid ; and in two hours from that 
time, men were hurriedly crossing the river on the ice. A vast 
amount of cattle, fowls and game, and man}' persons, were frozen to 
death. I heard of one man, who was crossing a prairie, on horse- 
back, who had killed his horse and taken the entrails out of him and 
then crawled inside of him for protection, was found there frozen 
to death. I don't know how the thermometer stood, for we had 

On Monday, during this sudden change. Dr. Chandler was 
returning home from a professional trip up the bottom. His overcoat 
was covered with slush and mud, and in a few minutes after the 
change began his coat was frozen stiff, and he felt that he was in 
danger of being frozen. He stopped at the store of Henry T. & 
Abner Foster, at Richmond, on the land since owned by John P. Dick, 
where he was warmed up and thawed out. He then mounted his 
horse and started on a gallop for home, about six miles distant, but 
soon found himself freezing again. He stopped at another house, and 
warmed, and started again, with like results. He tbus was forced to 
stop at four different houses, between Foster's store and his house, to 
prevent freezing to death. When he arrived within sight of his own 
house his horse fell down, and left him helpless on the ice, and his 
family dragged him, in a helpless condition, into the house. 

At the special session of the Legislature in the summer of 1837, 
was passed a preamble and statute to the following effect : 

. " Whereas, at an election held in the county of Morgan, according 
to the provisions of ' An act for the formation of the county of 
Cass,' it appeared that a majority of the voters of said county voted 
for the creation of said county ; and, whereas, at an election for the 
county seat of said county, Beardstown received the highest number 
of votes for the county seat, and whereas some doubts have been 
expressed as to the legality of the proceedings of said elections, 
now, therefore, to remove all doubts on that subject : 

"Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the 'people of the State of Illinois 
represented in the General Assembly, That the county of Cass, as 
designated and bounded in the ' Act for the formation of the county 
of Cass,' approved, March 3d, 1837, be, and the same is hereby 
declared to be, one of the counties of this State. 

" Sec. 2. The county seat shall be located at the city of Beards- 
town, in said county : Provided, hoivever. That the provision of the 
act, above referred to, shall be complied with by the citizens, or 
corporation of Beardstown, in relation to the raising the sum of ten 
thousand dollars, to defray the expenses of erecting public buildings 
for said count}'. 

" Sec. 3. The corporation of Beardstown shall be allowed the 
period of one, two, and three years, for the payment of ten thousand 
dollars, aforesaid, to be calculated from the passage of the law 
aforesaid, which sum shall be paid in three equal payments. The 
County Commissioners' Court of said count}' shall make their con- 
tracts for erecting the public buildings in said county, so as to 
make their payments thereon when the said installments aforesaid 
shall become due and payable. 

" Sec. 4. The court house of said county shall be erected on the 
plat of ground known as the public square,' in said town of Beards- 

" Sec. 5. Returns of the elections for the county officers of said 
county, to be elected on the first Monday of August next, shall be 
made in Beardstown, to 0. M, Long and Thomas Poyne, notaries 
public in Beardstown, who shall open and examine the poll books of 
said election in the presence of one or more Justices of the Peace 
in and for said count}' ; and said notaries public, after due inspection 
and examination of the poll books, aecoi'ding to the laws of this 
State, shall make out certificates of election of those persons who 
have received the highest number of votes, which certificates shall 
be such as those required to be made by the clerks of the Count}' 
Commissioners' Court, and shall receive and be entitled to the same 
eflfect in law." 

This statute also provides how the school fund of Morgan County 
shall be divided with Cass County. 

At the session of 1839, on the 2d day of March, the Legislature 
made this preamble and statute : 

" Whe7-eas it was provided, by the act for the formation of the 
county of Cass, that, in case the county seat of said county should 
be located at Beardstown, the corporation or inhabitants should, 
within one year after the location, pay into the county treasury the 
sum of ten thousand dollars, to be applied to the erection of public 
buildings ; and whereas, by the act passed 21st of July, 1837, in 
relation to said county, further time was allowed said corporation to 
make said payment, the said corporation having failed to pay the 

said ten thousand dollars,' and not having complied with, or agreed 
to oomph- with the provisions of the last recited act, the County 
Commissioners of said county, under the provisions of the first 
recited act, located the count}- seat at Virginia, and contracted for 
the erection of a court house and jail in said county ; and doubts 
beinof entertained as to the true construction of the act last recited in 
relation to the rights of said corporation, and the duties of the 
County Commissioners, therefore : 

" Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the x>^ople of the State of Illinois 
represented in the General Assembly, That the county seat of Cass 
Count}- shall be and remain at Virginia, and the courts of said 
count}- shall hereafter be held at that place ; and the several county 
officers, who are required to keep their offices at the county seat, are 
required to remove their respective offices, and all bonds, documents, 
books and papers pertaining to the same, to Virginia, on or before 
the first day of May next, and thereafter hold and keep their 
respective offices at that place ; and in case one or more of said 
officers shall fail, or refuse to comply with the provisions of this act, 
such officer shall forfeit his office." 

In the years 1838 and 1839, was built, as I believe, the first rail- 
road west of the Alleghany Mountains, running from Meredosia to 
Springfield. I particularly recollect this great enterprise, for two 
reasons : first, I took a trip in 1838 from Meredosia to Jacksonville, 
on the first passenger train that ever ran on that road ; and second, 
because it was built by the State, and was a part of that great 
internal improvement policy, which bankrupted and disgraced the 
State, and spread misery among the people. Of all tl>e hard times 
that the people of Cass County, and indeed of the whole State, have 
ever seen, these were the hardest. 

This was caused by the passage of a bill in the Legislature, 
providing for a general system of internal improvements by the 
construction of nearly 1,300 miles of railroad, and the improvement 
of various rivers. These improvements never paid the interest on 
the money they cost, and in 1840, after a short but eventful life of 
three years, fell the most stupendous, extravagant, and almost ruinous 
folly of a grand system of internal improvements that any civilized 
community, perhaps, ever engaged in, leaving a State debt of 
$14,237,348.00, and a population of less than half a million to pay it. 
For this the people could not blame the Legislature, or the politicians, 
for the people themselves had demanded and clamored for it, and the 
Legfislature onlv obeved their behest in granting it. At the same 


time, the State banks suspended, and left us with a depreciated 
currency. The State Bank of Shawneetown collapsed with a circu- 
lation of $1,700,000, and the State Bank with $3,000,000. The 
people were left destitute of an adequate circulating medium, and 
were not supplied until the ordinary process of tlicir limited commerce 
brought in gold and silver and bills of solvent banks from the other 
States, which was very slow. Even immigration was stopped, owing 
to the general financial embarrassment, high taxes, and disgraceful 
condition of the State. When monej- was abundant, credit had been 
extended to every body. With the vast system of internal improve- 
ments, and the large circulation of the banks, this was the condition 
of our people. They were largely in debt on account of speculations, 
which proved to be delusions. Contracts matured, but nobody 
paid. The State had sold and hypothecated her bonds until its credit 
was exhausted. Then no further effort was made to pay even the 
interest on the State debt. Then the State bonds went down, down, 
until they were worth but fourteen cents on the dollar. The people 
were unable and unwilling to pay higher taxes, and what might almost 
be called a general bankruptcy' ensued. The people owed the 
merchants ; the merchants owed the banks, and for goods purchased 
abroad ; while the banks, having suspended specie payment, owed 
every one who carried one of their rags in his pocket. None could 
pay in par funds, for there were none to be had. In this dilemma 
the Legislature tried to come to the relief of the people, but instead 
of relieving them from their wretched condition by summary legis- 
lation, they, as such bodies usually do, in like circumstances, onl}- 
made matters worse. Among other statutes passed with this generous 
object, was one that I have no doubt man}' of m}- hearers will 
recollect, which was known among the people as the stay law, or 
two-thirds Ian:. It serves to illustrate both the hard times and the 
inconsiderate and unjust legislation of that day, although done with 
the intention of affording relief to the debtor class, without apparently 
thinking that it was at the expense of the creditor. This law provided 
that property levied upon by execution should be valued as in 
"ordinary times;" the valuation to l)e made by three householders 
summoned by the oflicer holding the writ, of whom the debtor, 
creditor, and officer should each choose one, thus placing it in the 
power of the oflicer to favor either part}' at his option ; the property 
was not to be sold unless it brought two-thirds of its valuation ; no 
wa}' was provided b}' which the creditor, if two-thirds of its valuation 
vi^as not bid, could hold his lien ; thus forcing him to stay collection 


or suffer discount of 33^ per cent. This law was made applicable to 
all judgments rendered and contracts accruing prior to the 1st of 
Ma}', 1841, without reference to the legal obligations of the time 
when contracts were entered into ; being in violation of that clause 
of the constitution of the United States, declaring that " no law stall 
be passed impairing the obligation of contracts." In the case of 
McCracken vs. Hoiuard, 2d Howard, 608, the Supreme Court of the 
United States subsequently held this law to be unconstitutional. 
But, in the mean time, the law had performed its mission, and had 
rendered the collection of debts almost impossible. The condition 
of our people was truly distressing. There was an utter dearth and 
stagnation of business. Abroad, the name of the State was 
associated with dishonor. There were no immigrants but those who 
had nothing to lose ; while people here, with rare exceptions, were 
anxious to sell out and flee a countiy presenting no alternative than 
exorbitant taxation or disgrace. But propert}' would not sell, nor 
was there an}- money to buy with. Indeed, money, as a means of 
exchange, became almost unknown. Payment was taken in trade, 
store pay, etc. Merchants and other dealers issued warrants or due 
bills, which passed for so much on the dollar in trade. Even the 
County Commissioners' Court of Cass County came to the relief of 
the people, and had a plate engraved, and issued vast quantities of 
count}' warrants, or orders, in the similitude of one dollar bank bills. 
But these county orders, and others like them, were made invalid b}- 
an Act of the Legislature passed in the interest of the banks ; so 
that even this charitable act on the part of our County Com- 
missioners to relieve the local scarcity of money failed in its office. 

At this time money was so scarce that it was with great difficult}' 
that farmers, owning good farms, could get the money to pay their 
IDOstage. It was not necessary then to prepay postage. Domestic 
letters cost from five to twenty-five cents apiece, according to the 
distance they had come ; and foreign letters were still higher. 

What was worse, they must all be paid for in silver, and it 
often occurred that a letter would lay in the office for weeks before 
its owner could get the silver to redeem it. If the farmers wished to 
get goods from the store, they were forced to buy on credit, and pay 
in grain or other produce, or take butter, eggs, poultry, game, honey, 
wood, or other articles, to exchange for store goods. 

Produce continually fluctuated in price, even in store pay. I 
have seen corn sell at six cents often, and have heard farmers remark 
that ten cents in cash was all that corn ought to and probably ever 


would bring, and that farmers could get rich at that price. I have 
sold wheat in Beardstown at 35 cents per bushel, and pork often at 
1| cents per pound. 

One of the first acts of the County Commissioners' Court after 
the organization of this county, was to arrange for raising a revenue, 
and the}' passed an order that the following kinds of property be 
taxed at the rate of one-half per cent. : Town lots, " indentured 
or registered negro or mulatto servants" (for this had not ceased 
to be a slave State at that time) , pleasure carriages, stocks in trade, 
horses, mules, " and all neat cattle over and under three years old," 
hogs, sheep, wagons and carts. 

A pubjic notice was given to " all persons trading in Cass 
County " to procure a license according to law. Under this notice, 
at the September Term, 1837, Spence & Foster, T. & J.T. Wilbourn, 
and Parrot & Alcott, got a license to sell goods, wares, and merchan- 
dise in Beardstown ; and Beasle}' & Schafer, a similar license at 
Monroe ; and all such licenses were fixed at five dollars each. Tavern 
licenses were granted at seven dollars each. At the same term, a 
license to keep a ferr^'-boat, for one year, at Beardstown, was granted 
to Thomas Beard for twenty-two dollars. 

The first county order drawn on the treasurer, was for twenty-two 
dollars and fifty cents, in favor of N. B. Thompson, for the books of 
the Count}' Commissioners' Court. The second was in favor of N. 
B. Thompson, for thirt}' dollars, and was for three county seals, in 
full, September 6, 1837. 

The first term of the Circuit Court of Cass County was held in 
Beardstown, November 13, 1837, in a one-stor}- frame building stand- 
ing at the corner of Main and State streets, where Seeger's hall now 
stands. Present : the Hon. Jesse B. Thomas, jr., judge of the First 
Judicial Circuit; Lemon Plaster, sheriff; and there being no Circuit 
Clerk elect, N. B. Thompson was appointed clerk by the judge. 

The grand iurv at that time consisted of Thomas Wilbourn, fore- 
man, Isaac Spence, Augustus Knapp, James H. Blackman, Alexan- 
der Huffman, Robert Gaines, Richard Graves, William Shoopman, 
Benjamin Stribling, John Daniels, Phineas Underwood, Ephraim 
Moseley, John Robinson, Elijah Carver, .John P. Dick, William Mc- 
Aule}', Marcus Chandler, Heniy S. Ingalls, Jeremiah Bowen, Amos 
Hager, and Jeremiah Northern. 

There was no petit jury at this term, but talismen were drawn as 
thev were wanted. 


At the May term, 1838, Nathan alias Nathaniel Graves was in- 
dicted for the murder of an eastern man named Fowle, which murder 
took place at what was known as Miller McLane's grocery, kept in a 
log house which stood on the present site of Philadelphia. Fowle 
and Alec Beard were sitting down on a log outside the grocery, 
talking in a friendl}' manner. There was quite a number of persons 
around. Graves and Richard McDonald came riding up on horseback 
from different directions about the same time. Graves dismounted, 
leading his horse toward Fowle, drew a pistol and shot and killed 
him. He was so near Fowle that the fire burned his clothes. The 
men standing around were so surprised that they stood still while 
Graves mounted his horse and started to ride awa}-. At this time 
McDonald cried out, "Men, why don't you arrest him?" and rode 
after him. When Graves saw that McDonald was about to catch 
him, he drew a knife and turned around. McDonald caught him by 
the throat and choked him till he surrendered, but was himself badly, 
almost fatal!}', wounded in the struggle. Graves took a change of 
venue to Green County, where, breaking jail, he escaped to Ken- 
tucky, where he died a natural death. 

In 1839, the town of Arenzville was founded b}- Francis Arenz. 

Thus matters stood from 1837 to 1843. during which time there 
grew a feeling of dissatisfaction among the people of the southern 
half of the townships seventeen and other parts of Morgan County, 
with Jacksonville ; and there was such effort made to dissever their 
relations, that two statutes were passed b}- the Legislature in the 
session of 1843, which provided for the accomplishment of three 
objects : one of which was that a vote be taken whether Morgan 
Count}' should be divided into two counties, one of which was to 
remain bv the name of Morgan Countv, and the other bv the name 
of Benton ; second, that the tier of half townships, known as seven- 
teen, or the " three-mile strip," on the north side of Morgan County, 
be added to Cass County ; and third, that Cass County should vote 
for the selection of a permanent county seat. The election on the 
first proposition was held in ^Morgan County on the first JMonday in 
August, 1843, and resulted unfavorably to the creation of the county 
of Benton. The proposition to annex the ''three-mile strip," in the 
four different precincts in that strip of territory, stood as follows : 

For attaching to Cass. Against attaching. 

Arenzville 115' 5 

At the house of Henry Price 70 14 

Princeton 41 35 

At the house of William Berry 20 24 

Majority for attaching the " three-mile strip" to Cass. 168. 


On the first Monday in September. 1843, there was an election 
held in Cass County, in which the "three-mile strip" took part, to 
determine the permanent location of the county seat, at which election 
the vote stood as follows : 






For Beardstown. 











Majorit}- for Beardstown, 165. 

The Count}' Seat was removed to Beardstown. and on the eighth 
day of February, 1845, the town of Beardstown presented the County 
Commissioners' Court with lot one, in block thirt^'-one, in that town, 
with the Court House and Jail thereon completed. On the sixth of 
March. 1846, Reddick Horn sold his farm, consisting of 134 acres, 
in sections twenty-eight and twent^'-nine, in township eighteen, range 
eleven, to the County of Cass, for a " home for the poor of the 
county," for $1,500. 

By the breaking out of the Mormon., war, in 1845, Beardstown 
again became the rendezvous for the State forces called out to coerce [\ 
into obedience to our State laws that peculiar people. The troops 
were under the command of Brigadier-General John J. Hardin, of ]/ 
Jacksonville, Illinois. 

The town of Chandlerville was begun in 1848. by Dr. Charles 

From 1850 to 1852, Cass County was infested by horse thieves, 
who resided in the county, some half dozen of which were arrested 
in the latter year, and brought before a magistrate for examination. 
One of the number was a large, powerful, good-looking young 
Hungarian, named Eugene Honorius. I was prosecuting the case, 
and felt satisfied from what I could learn, that he had no heart in that 
nefarious business, but was induced to stay with the gang out of 
love for the sister of one of them. Not having sufficient testimony, 
I pressed him into the service as witness, and by a rigid examination, 
extorted all the necessaiy facts from him sufficient to hold the rest of 
the gang, who were committed to jail. 

Before the sitting of the Circuit Court, however, they all broke 
jail, and fled to Kansas : from whence tlie girl to whom Honorius 
was attached, wrote back to a friend the statement : That by an 
arrangement with the gang, after they had escaped from jail, one 
Suudav she asked the Hungarian to so to a reliijious meeting with 


her, down on Indian Creek. That they started down on horseback, 
but that she decoyed him awaj' down on Hog Island, where the}- met 
the gang, who shot and killed him in revenge for his having ^^ peached" 
on them ; and that if the prosecutors wanted to use him for a witness 
again they could find him at a certain place on Hog Island, and 
designated it. 

Upon being informed of this, John Craig and I rode down there, 
and at the place designated in the girl's letter, we found the bones of 
a man, evidently about the large size of Honorius, but so much torn 
to iDieces and broken by animals, that we could find but three whole 
bones, the two thighs and the jaw bone, which I have yet in my 
possession. The perpetrators were never retaken, but the county was 
not troubled with horse-thieves for a long time afterwards. 

B3' virtue of the State Constitution of 1848, a statute was passed 
by the legislature of 1849, abolishing the County Commissioners' 
Court, and the office of Probate Justice of the Peace, and creating 
instead the Count}' Court, consisting of one judge and two 
associate justices of the peace. 

The first court elected under the new law was : James Shaw, judge ; 
Wm. Ta^-lor and Thomas Plaster, associates. 

At the same session an act was passed authorizing counties to 
adopt township organization, if a majority of the citizens should 
favor it. An effort was made at that time, and several others by a 
vote of the people have been made since, but have failed ; the people 
in every instance preferring to remain under the old form of organi- 

In the same year, 1849, Beardstown was incorporated as a city, 
with the same charter as those of Springfield and Quincy. In this 
3-ear also occun-ed the third election for location of the County Seat, 
which was decided in favor of Beardstown. Another election was 
had in 1857, and another in 1868, for the same purpose, but the 
County Seat still remained at Beardstown. Another election was 
held in 1S72, under the Constitution of 1870, and a new general 
statute governing re-location of county seats. The history of this 
last election and its results is too fresh in the memory of my hearers 
to need repeating now. 

The first census taken after Cass County was formed, was in 1840 ; 
it then had a total population of 2,981. In 1850, it had 7,253 ; in 
1860, 11,325; in 1870, 11.580. 



James Shsi\Y,,Judcie. 

Thomas Plaster, Associate. 

Jacob Ward, Associate Elected May 19, 1851. 

John A. Areiiz. Judge "| 

Isaac Eplev. Associate ^-Elected November, 1S53. 

Sylvester Paddock J 

John A. Arenz. Judge. 

Sylvester Paddock. Associate. 

James M. Shoi-t, Associate Elected November. 1854. 

H. C. Havekluft, Judge -^ 

"VVm, McHenry, Associate.. .. )>Elected November. 1857. 
G. W. Shawen, Associate J 

F. H. Rearick, Judge Elected November, 1861. 

Wm. McHenry, Associate. 

G. W. Shawen, Associate. 

John A. Arenz, Judge -^ 

Jennings G. Mathis, Associate ^Elected November, 1865. 
Samuel Smith, Associate J 

Alexander Huffman, Judge. --^ 

Andrew Struble, Associate. .. ^Elected November, 1869. 

Jepthah Plaster, Associate. .. J 

F. H. Eearick. Judge Elected February 24. 1872. 

Andrew Struble, Associate. 
Jepthah Plaster, Associate. 

John W. Savage, Judge Elected November. 1873. 

William Campbell -i 

John H. Melone }■ Commissioners. Elected Nov.. 1873. 

Robert Fielden J 

William Campbell. 

Jolm M. Melone. 

Luke Dunn Elected November. 1875. 


John P. Wilbourne Elected August 7. 1837. 

Joshua P. Crow 

Alexander Huffn)ann. 

H. E. Dummer 

Hulett Clark 

H. E. Dummer 


" 184-2. 



May 13. 1849. 



Lemon Plasters Elected August 7, 1837. 

John Savage - " 1841. 

Joseph M. McLean " '' 1848. 

J. B. Fulks •' November, 18.50. 

"William Pitner " " 1852. 

James Taylor " " 1854. 

James A. Dick " " 1856. 

Francis H. Rearick '' " 1858. 

James Taylor ^' " I860. 

Charles E. Yeck " " 1862. 

James A. Dick " '' 1864. 

Charles E. Yeck " " 1866. 

Thomas Chapman '• " 1868. 

Horace Cowan " " 1870. 

George Volkmar " '• 1872. 

William Epler '• '' 1874. 

I have now extended this address far bej'ond the limits which cus- 
tom has assigned to Fourth of July orations, and must soon close. 
It has been usual on our national birth-da}- for the orator to take a 
survey of our past histor}', and awake the enthusiasm of his hearers 
by referring to the dark and bloody days of the revolution of 1776. So 
often have our hearts expanded at the relation of the glorious deeds of 
our fathers east of the Appalachian chain, that I fear we have allowed 
ourselves to forget the brilliant exploits of George Rogers Clark and his 
daring followers, who made the most extraordinary march and impor- 
tant conquest of the war, and who, just ninety-eight years ago to-day, 
planted the American flag upon the battlements of Kaskaskia, and 
declared the Illinois countr}' free from Great Britain. We have also 
allowed ourselves to think too little of that band of patriots, the 
pioneers of the great Mississippi Valley. It was that we, their pos- 
terity, might enjoy the blessings which now surround us, that they 
left their comfortable homes in the far East and South, and settled 
the wild prairies and Avoodlands of Illinois, and caused them to 
blossom with the rose and flow with milk and honej'. And perhaps, 
too, in our enthusiasm for the heroes of the last centur}', those for 
whom and in whose memory Independence Day as a national feast- 
day was originally inaugurated, we have, through custom, neglected 
to paj' a passiuii tribute to the heroes of later times. This ought 
not to be. Our own eyes have witnessed our country in the throes of 
a revolution, far greater, far grander, more fearful, more terrible, 
than that of 1776, which we are more particularly called upon to 
celebrate to-day. 


Fifteen 3-ears ago, a cloud, deep and dark and impenetrable, 
settled down upon our beloved country. It was that cloud that had 
been feared by Webster, and Jackson, and Clay, and a host of their 
compatriots. No statesman was wise enough to see through the 
gloom. But the country, in its agony, called upon its citizen-soldiery 
for protection ; and the call was not in vain. From everv villao-e 
and hamlet ; j'ea, from almost every farm-house in Cass County, men 
sprang to the rescue, as lions do when then- young is threatened with 

Upon every field between the Ohio and the Gulf, and from where 
the Blue Ridge steps his feet upon the savannas of the South, away 
westward to where the Arkansas grasps the prairies of the West in 
his watery fingers, the heroes of Cass County have borne aloft the 
Stars and Stripes ; and many of them are now at rest, the long 
southern grass waving upon the level smface above them, and the 
head-boards which were placed over them by their departing comrades 
have long since mingled with the dust. 

But the time will come — it must come, fellow-citizens — when the 
history of Cass County will not be compressed into a Fourth of July 
oration, but will be enlarged into the dignity of a volume, and on its 
pages will be transcribed the name of every man who sacrificed him- 
self for the good of his countiy, whether he fell upon the bloody 
field, or languished in the dreary hospital, or. with his honored scars 
upon him, has lived to mingle in the avocations of civil life. 

I have now told you, in so comparatively short a time, what I can 
condense of the half century's historj* of what is now Cass County, 
four-fifths of which period has passed under m}" own personal obser- 
vation. How strange that a man should see the birth and infancy, 
and live on through the vouth to the maturitv of a great State I How 
passing strange that the pioneer of the prairie and the forest should 
witness all the m3-steries of the building — the substructure and the 
superstructui'e ; should with his own hands help, not only to lay the 
foundation rocks deep in the soil, but also to bear up the pillai-s of 
strength, and assist in rearing upon them the dome and pinnacle of 
an Empire State ! But so it is. In other countries, generations 
afi r generations pass away, and witness no perceptible change in 
their communities ; but here, men have passed their early lives in log 
cabins, who now rest from their labors in rosewood beds enshrined 
in marble. 

And what maj' we learn bj' to-day's lesson? It is this, if no other : 
that whatever condition in life circumstances may place us in. to act 


well our part, and then we cannot fail to become important factors in 
the making- up of the State in which we live. Nations are but a con- 
glomerate of communities, and communities of individuals ; and the 
State looks to ever}' man to do his duty. 

And now, finally, as this is a county festival, the people of which 
are assembled together to celebrate this, the centennial, anniversarj' 
of our countrj-'s independence, let us ask ourselves this question : 
Has Cass Count}-, during the half century of its histoiy, done its 
dutv to the State and nation ; its dutv to God and the great world of 
humanitv outside of it : its dutv to itself and to the future generations 
that are to succeed us ? 

And, in response, I believe we can lay our hands upon our hearts, 
and our consciences will tell us that this county, as a community, 
has done its duty ; and results show it. There is probabh' as much 
of wealth, intelligence and happiness in it, present and prospective, 
as in any rural district of its size and population in this great 
valley. The patriotism of its people and the integrit}' of its magis- 
tracy' stand unimpeached. No duty to the nation nor to humanity 
has been left unperformed. And the generation now passing away 
can say to the one just stepping upon the platform : Go and do like- 
wise, and your reward shall be equal, and we trust even an hundred- 
fold more abundant. 


The following I have collected from various sources as well as 
largely from my own observation. 


1640 — Twenty years after the settlement of Plymouth Colony, the 
Illinois River was first navigated b}* white men in pirogues and birch 
canoes, and Illinois was colonized by Frenchmen, and added to the 
French Dominion. ' 

1673 — Marquette and Joliet with five followers crossed Wisconsin 
in canoes to the Mississippi River, down that stream and up the 


Illinois to Lake Miciiigan, the point of their departure, the entire 
route being at that time, and for a hundred j'ears later, navigable for 
pirogues and canoes. The route being via Green Ba\-, and the 
Wisconsin, Mississippi, Illinois, Kankakee and St. Joseph Rivers. 
There was another navigable connection, during the whole of that 
period, between the Illinois and Lake Michigan, b}' means of the 
DesPlaines and Chicago Rivers, which men now alive have traveled 
in pirogues, all the way. 

1670, Dec. — The Illinois, Kankakee and St. Joseph route was 
navigated by La Salle and thirtj'-three followers. 

16S1, Aug — Illinois, Kankakee and St. Joseph route again navi- 
gated by La Salle and party. 

1682 — La Salle and party navigated the waters from Lake 
Michigan, across Wisconsin, down the Mississippi, up the Illinois, 
Kankakee and St. Joseph to the Lake. At that time Beardstown 
was upon an island. The water surrounding it the year round, per- 

1687, Sept. — The Illinois, Kankakee and St. Joseph route navi- 
gated by seven Frenchmen, mutineers and murderers of La Salle, on 
their way from Arkansas to Lake Michigan. 

1693 — Gravier and his followers settled at Kaskaskia, Cahokia 
and Peoria, and from this time for fifty years the Illinois was 
continually navigated by canoes, pirogues, and other small boats. 

1725 — The first of the four greatest floods of the Western rivers. 

1750 — Vivier says that forty vessels from the Illinois River landed 
at New Orleans, laden with lumber, brick, beef, tallow, cotton, 
m3-rtle, wax, leather, tobacco, lead, iron, copper, wild game, tar, 
skins, furs, pork, bears' oil, flour and other articles of produce. 

From this time on for man}' ^-ears, the principal part of the 
produce received at New Orleans was shipped from the Illinois River. 

1763 — LaClede founded St. Louis, which gave a new impetus to 
commerce in the Illinois River, it being a nearer market. At this 
time the Illinois countr}' was ceded by France to Great Britain, which 
closed the French war. 

1772 — Second great flood. 

1778 — Illinois was conquered and taken from Great Britain bj' 
Virginia, and was added to that State, and named Illinois County. 

1785 — A great flood on the Illinois and all Western Rivers, the 
third highest ever known. 

1786 — Another great flood. The Ohio rose fifty-nine feet above 
low water mark. The stage of water in the Illinois River is not 
recorded that I can find, but known to be very high. 


1792 — Another great flood. The Ohio rose sixtj^-three feet above 
low water mark. Stage of the Illinois not recorded, but very high. 

1800 — The population of Illinois, on the borders of its rivers, 

1810 — Great flood in all the Western rivers. The Ohio at Titts- 
burg higher than ever before known. Stage of the Illinois not 
recorded. Steamer "Orleans," the first on the Western rivers, built. 

1811 — On the IGth day of December began the most remarkable 
phenomena that ever occurred in North America : an earthquake, the 
continued shocks of which lasted for the space of three months, a 
longer period than ever before known ; the etfects of which were felt 
in Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas, the focus 
of which seemed to be about the mouth of the Ohio. It made great 
commotion in tlie rivers the banks of which caved in by whole acres 
at a time. Large islands disappeared under the waters. The town 
of New Madrid, Missouri, was destroyed, and the river now runs 
over part of its former site. The balance of it is lower by twenty- 
five feet than it was before. The bed of the river just below the 
mouth of tlie Ohio raised up like a bow and turned up stream, until 
its pent-up waters with accunuilated force swept over the barrier and 
poured into the craters and fissures of the ground, when they were 
again thrown out in huge streams higher than the trees. 

The river was navigated at that time by many flat-boats from the 
Illinois, Upper Mississipi)i and Ohio Rivers, some of which were 
swallowed up in the great chasms of the river. There was much loss 
of life and property. Fortunately at that time the country was 
sparsely settled ; for no building could have withstood its fury. 

Tills calamity cheeked the cojumeree of the Illinois River, as 
indeed also the general prosperity of the Western States. All immi- 
gration stopped, and the impression became general in the Eastern 
and Middle States, that Illinois and Missouri were so subject to 
earthquakes, as to be forever unsafe as a place of habitation. But in 
a few years this impression with its attendant fears wore away, and 
immigration again was resumed. 

There iiave JteiMi but two earthquakes in Illinois since that lime, 
one in 1840 and tiie other in lS(;-2 ; both slight shocks ; the one in 
1840, however, doing some little damage to brick buildings and 

1815 — The steamer " Enterprise " built, and run from New Orleans 
to Louisville, the first steamboat which ever run up stream in the 
Western rivers. The " Orleans " was able only to nmdown stream, and 

• 50 niSToniCAL sketch of cass county. 

had to be cordellcil back. From 181.5, stcamboatfi multiplied ver}- fast, 
and the pirates, who in large numbers had infested the Western 
rivers, began to disapi^ear, and finall}- ceased their depredations 

1820, June 2 — The Illinois and Mississippi were higher than before 
known for fort}' A'ears. The river was up to Main Street, in St. 
Louis, which caused great destruction of property. 

1827 — Steamer "Mechanic," John S. Clark, captain, first steam- 
boat ever up the Illinois River. 

1828 — Another great flood, supposed to be as great as that of 

1829 — Beardstown was foimded b}' Thomas Beard. 

1830-31 — The great snow, six feet deep. 

1836 — The Illinois and Mississippi again flooded. The water at 
St. Louis was fiftj'-four feet above low water mark, being nine feet 
ten inches higher than in 1810. 

1S37 — Steamer "Wave" burned near Peru. One man lost, a 
passenger, who was drowned. 

1844 — This was the greatest flood on record in this or anv other 
country, since the days of Noah. Every river west of the Alle- 
ghauies and north of the Gulf of Mexico rose simultaneously, and 
the channel of the Mississippi was unable to pass out the vast amount 
of water which came into it. Four hundred human beings, and a 
great number of horses, cattle and other stock lost their lives. 

The water was one foot deep on Main Sti-eet, in Beardstown, and 
this city again became an island, with ten feet depth of water between 
it and the bluffs. The water rose to a level with the second story 
windows on Front Street, St. Louis. A great many towns were 
inundated and houses washed awa}'. 

The four gi-eatcst floods on the Mississippi River and its tri- 
butaries, within the last 150 years, are those of 1725, 1772, 1785 and 

1848 — "Planter" exploded and burned at Jones' Ferry on the 
Illinois River. Five persons were killed and many scalded, some of 
whom afterward died. The captain escaped harm, but was shortly 
afterward killed by the explosion of the " Saluda," on the Missouri 

1849 — Another flood this 3'ear. T\\q water was on a level with 
Main Street, in Beardstown, and again it became an island. The 
people on the lower Mississippi suflered more than in 1844, on 
account of crevasses, their losses amounting to 800,000,000. The 



water was ten feet deep in some of the streets of New Orleans. At 
this time, and for several years afterward, steamboating on the Illi- 
nois River arrived at the zenith of its glory and prosperity. Dnring 
these years it boasted the finest vessels which ever iloated on its 
waters ; among which were the Die Vernon, Prairie State, Cataract, 
Garden City, Ocean Wave, Belle Gonld, Polar Star, and many others ; 
they were trnly floating palaces, and the travel was npon the river 
and canal cxclnsiveh', there being no railroad convenient for that 
class of travelers. On May 17th of this year, occurred the great 
conflagration in St. Louis, by which several whole blocks of buildings 
and twenty-three steamboats were burned, among which were the 
Prairie State and Acadia, Illinois River packets. 

I80O — Financier, an Illinois River packet, exploded at Alton. 
Seven lives lost. 

1851 — August 20, Dacotah exploded at Peoria ; eleven lives lost. 
November 27, Die Vernon and Archer collided three miles above the 
mouth of the Illinois River ; the Archer sank immediately ; twenty- 
three persons were drowned, whose names were known, also quite a 
number on deck, whose names were unknown. In this 3X'ar there 
were two floods, the two continuing so long as to cause more damage 
than any former one. The water was highest on the 11th of June, 
when it was four feet nine inches lower than the high water mark of 

1852 — Prairie State No. 2 exploded April 25th, at Pekin ; twenty 
lives lost. In April, the Illinois was ver^^ high, but no unusual dam- 
age was done. The Ohio rose as high as in 1832, doing an immense 
injur}^ to property. 

1850 — Illinois River on a level with Main Street, running over at 
one place, Lafayette Street. INIarch 22, Tropic and Challenge first 
boats up. Ocean Spray burned. December 14, River closed. 

In 1852 and 185G, during the high water, first-class steamboats 
went entirely around lieardstown witliout any difficulty. 

1857 — Februar}' 18, Brazil first boat up. River moderate. No- 
vember 19, River closed. December 1, Opened and remained navi- 
gable until February 19, when it closed. 

1858 — March 11, River opened; Adriatic first f)oat up. River 
dill not close again. Prairie State collapsed a flue ; one man killed. 
Tliis spring the river very high, being nearly as high as in 1844. 
The water crossed over Main Street, and all the lower parts covered. 
The city again an island, and a first-class steamer, loaded with pas- 
sengers, went around it. 


1859 — January 21, River closed for the first time. Open to St. 
Louis on the 28th. February' .3, Closed again. February 16, F. X. 
Aubr}' first boat up. December 15, Closed. 

1800 — February 21 , Polar Star first ])oat up. Belle Peoria burned. 
November 24, River closed. December 7, Sam. Young came up. 
December 13, River closed. January 1, Deep snow ; very cold; rail- 
roads generally blocked up ; mails stopped, and traveling suspended 
two weeks. 

1861 — February 16, Polar Star first boat up. Still very cold ; 
some ice running. February 22, Minnesota Belle came up. Decem- 
ber 20, River closed. 

1862 — March 12, Minnesota Belle first boat up. December 0, 
River over the Schuyler Bottom lands, and closed. December r2th. 
River open. La Salle first boat up. 

1863 — February 3, River closed until February loth. Lacon first 
boat down. December 9th, River closed. 

1864 — February 2, Schuyler first boat u[). Fel)ruary 16th, River 
closed. Februar}^ 22, River open. From September 1 until October 
13, only two feet of water in channel, and navigation suspended. 
December 9, River closed. 

1805 — February 20, City of Pekin first boat up. December 12, 
River closed. December 21, Thermometer 14° below 0, Fahrenheit. 
December 23, 14° below. 

1866 — January 21,|Six o'clock 1'. M., thermometer 4° above, with 
heavy rain, freezing as it fell, and heav}' thunder and lightning, mer- 
cury falling rapidly meantime, until nine o'clock P. M. it stood 8° 
below, where it stood until morning. Thunder and lightning lasted 
one hour, say until seven o'clock P. M. It will require a skillful 
meteorologist to explain this phenomena. February 15th, thermom- 
eter 26° below at Beardstown, which was the coldest day ever known 
in this country. In the northern counties of this State it ranged 
from 30 to 40° below. February 16, thermometer 16° below. March 
1, Schuyler first boat up ; river over bottom lands. Steamer Farj^- 
gut collided with the Meredosia bridge, wherel)y the canal boat Ajax, 
with entire cargo, was lost, and John C^uigg drowned. The Ajax 
was in tow of the Farragut. March 17, Thermometer 7° above, but 
river remained oi)en. Fall (juitc warm and pleasant until December 
11 ; turned cold, mercury 8° above. December 12, 4° above, and ice 
running thin. Illinois run down in the morning, cutting her way 
through. Same day river got clear of ice and Farrugut went down. 
December 15, Snowed six inches ; weather moderate ; 26° above, but 


ice running ; 17th, 2° below ; 10th, river opened and boats run until 
Ciiristnias ; 25th, ice running ; and 26th, river closed, 2° above. 

1867— February Dth and 10th, Thermoinetel- 10'" below. March 8, 
Kiver clear of ice ; Farragut and Gem started down. Boats run all 
the week. JMarch 13, Weather turned suddenly cold, 6° below, ice 
running ; and March 14, River closed. March 20, River open ; water 
all over the low lands and within three feet of the surface of Main 
Street, Beardstown. June 14, Peoria City's last trip down; low 
water began. July 20, Illinois' last trii) down. August 8, City of 
Fekin's last trip down. Gem collapsed a Hue ; two men killed. Sep- 
tember 18, Lancaster's last trip down. December 1, Lacon's last 
trip down. December 5, Beardstown's last trip u[). River closed. 

1868 — March 4th, River open ; Schuyler first boat up. March 5, 
City of Pekin u}). March 'J, Beardstown up. March 10, Illinois up. 
July 7, Low water began ; Scliiiyler's last trip down. July 13, Illi- 
nois' last trip down. November 15, River in good stage; Illinois 
l)egan regular trips. December 4, Snow six inches ; thermometer 
33° above. Belle Pike burst a cylinder ; one life lost, one wounded. 
December 9, 4° below ; river closed. Illinois last boat up. Decem- 
ber 12, Mercury 10° below. The second week in this mouth was the 
coldest week ever experienced in this State, the mercury 26° below, 

1869 — January 1 , Weather warm. .Tanuary 6, River opened ; Pekiu 
up. April 2, River moderately high, and ferr^'-boat ran to Frederick. 
River continued gradually to rise until about August 3, when it 
reached its highest, lu'ing on State Street, in Beardstown, within one 
foot of the leviil of Main Street. The rainiest season ever known. 
River open to navigation until January 7, 1870. 

1871 — November 11, River closed, and remained closed all winter. 

1873 — January 28, Coldest night ever known in this State. 
Earl}' in the morning the thermometer stood 40° below zero, Fahren- 
heit. Mercur}' congealed. Snow 16 inches deep. 

IJeardstown was selected as the site for the celebration of the Cen- 
tennial in Cass Count}'. The weather was inauspicious on the morn- 
ing of tlie Fourth, and doubtless lessened the attendance on the occa- 
sion. Towards mid-day, however, the storm passed away, and the 
Public Park, in which the prominent features of the day were to take 
place, soon began to fill. Judge Savage^ of Virginia, was elected to 
the Chair. A. M. Brownlee, of Virginia, read the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence ; and J. Henry Shaw, of Beardstown, delivered the oration. 
Schneider's Band filled the orchestra W the stand, and the Beardstown 
Glee Club occupied a temporary platform on its right. On the stand 
were Judge Savage, Judge Emmons; Robert Hall, marshal of the 
day ; Judge Arenz, Dr. Ehrhardt ; Mr. Oetgen, Sr., of Blulf Springs ; 
Mayor of Beardstown ; Mr; Petefish, of Virginia ; Rev. R. Knoll, N. 
Parsons ; Chas. Robinson, of Arcnzville ; Henry McKinnel ; J. S. 
Nicholson,, of the Central lUinoian; A. M. Brownlee, of the Gazelle; 
Dr. Littlefield ; J. S. Harper, of the Ashland Eayle; George Kuhl ; 
Rev. J. H. Shay, of the Cass Count)/ Messenger; Cyrus Loomis, H. 
B. DeSoUar, D. M. Irwin, J. Henry Shaw, John Ilusted, Henry 
Durham, Hon. William Epler, Chris. Crum, Rev. L. F. Grassow, 
Milton Logan, John Milt. Epler, J. W. Lawson, and others. 

All passed oil with grt^at edat, and the only regret was that the 
long-i)rotracted shower had excluded many distant citizens of tlu- 
county from participating